Teacher ‘Residencies’ Get Federal Funding to Augment Training

By Stephen Sawchuk — October 09, 2009 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The recent announcement of $43 million in teacher-preparation grants by the U.S. Department of Education puts the first federal financing behind the burgeoning “residency” model of teacher training.

The agency awarded 28 grants, primarily to university-based partnerships, under a retooled federal program that supports teacher preparation.

The financing, announced Sept. 30, arrives as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who has emphasized teacher evaluation and compensation recently, prepares to turn his attention to the nation’s schools of education in several speeches this month.

James H. Shelton, an assistant deputy secretary, said in an interview that the grants support the Obama administration’s overall agenda for teacher quality. “We’re excited that [the partnerships] are stepping up to be thoughtful about how to use the data on student achievement to change their programs,” he said.

The department plans to make additional awards in early 2010 with the $100 million provided for the program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The funding comes as a windfall for supporters of the teacher-residency approach, which stakes training on a yearlong clinical practicum for teacher-candidates. But because of the relative novelty of the model, the new grants’ effects on teacher retention and on student achievement will likely be tracked closely.

“One of the challenging things is that these grants are for five years, and residencies are very expensive,” said Ada Beth Cutler, the dean of the education school at Montclair State University, in New Jersey, which won a grant to begin a residency program in the Newark school district. “We have to prove together that this will have the projected outcome and will make a difference.”

Eye on Partnerships

Federal lawmakers overhauled the long-standing Teacher Quality Partnership grant program as part of the 2008 renewal of the Higher Education Act. The legislation consolidates three funding streams into a program that puts a heavier emphasis on student-teaching and requires colleges of education to work with local districts to address their specific teaching needs.

Award Winners

Millions of dollars will be doled out by the federal government to reform traditional teacher preparation and create teacher-residency programs. Grantees are to do either or both.


SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education

In particular, partnerships were encouraged to consider the residency model, which provides candidates with financial support during their residencies in exchange for commitments to teach in those communities for several years. All but nine of the funded grants include a residency component.

With its reduced coursework but extensive student-teaching, the residency model rests somewhere between traditional preparation pathways and alternative routes. The best-known examples are located in Boston, Chicago, and Denver, and the new grants represent a significant scaling-up.

“It’s a huge shift in the landscape, where you’re seeing universities adopt the work of nonprofit groups” that created the first residency programs just under a decade ago, said Anissa Listak, the managing director of Urban Teacher Residency United, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that crafts residency standards.

Answering Questions

Supporters of the model say the grants could provide additional data about the approach, such as the ideal size of the residency cohort, an effective sequencing of coursework, and the model’s applicability in nonurban settings.

“I think there is a lot of good reason and good evidence to make us believe this is an effective model, ... but I think what’s up in the air is how far can you stretch the boundaries,” said Jane E. West, the vice president of government affairs for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, based in Washington. “We have a lot to learn here.”

Bard College, for instance, will use its grant to support a residency program in a combination charter school and education program it operates in rural Delano, Calif. Most residencies are located in large cities.

“There may be more potential for really changing over a community’s attitude toward education in ways that are productive for kids,” said Ric Campbell, the college’s dean of education.

A version of this article appeared in the October 14, 2009 edition of Education Week as Teacher ‘Residencies’ Get Federal Funding To Augment Training


Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Boosting Student and Staff Mental Health: What Schools Can Do
Join this free virtual event based on recent reporting on student and staff mental health challenges and how schools have responded.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
Practical Methods for Integrating Computer Science into Core Curriculum
Dive into insights on integrating computer science into core curricula with expert tips and practical strategies to empower students at every grade level.
Content provided by Learning.com

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Will the Government Actually Shut Down This Time? What Educators Should Know
The federal government is once again on the verge of shutting down. Here's why educators should care, but shouldn't necessarily worry.
1 min read
Photo illustration of Capitol building and closed sign.
Federal Biden Admin. Warns Schools to Protect Students From Antisemitism, Islamophobia
The U.S. Department of Education released a "Dear Colleague" letter reminding schools of their obligation to address discrimination.
3 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his office at the Department of Education on Sept. 20, 2023 in Washington.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during an interview in his office at the U.S. Department of Education on Sept. 20, 2023 in Washington.
Mark Schiefelbein/AP
Federal What Educators Should Know About Mike Johnson, New Speaker of the House
Johnson has supported restructuring federal education funding, as well as socially conservative policies that have become GOP priorities.
4 min read
House Speaker-elect Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., addresses members of Congress at the Capitol in Washington on Oct. 25, 2023. Republicans eagerly elected Johnson as House speaker on Wednesday, elevating a deeply conservative but lesser-known leader to the seat of U.S. power and ending for now the political chaos in their majority.
House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., addresses members of Congress at the Capitol in Washington on Oct. 25, 2023. Johnson has a supported a number of conservative Republican education priorities in his time in Congress.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Federal America's Children Don't Have a Federal Right to Education. Will That Ever Change?
An education scholar is launching a new research and advocacy institute to make the case for a federal right to education.
6 min read
Kimberly Robinson speaks at the kickoff event for the new Education Rights Institute at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Va., on Oct. 16, 2023.
Kimberly Robinson speaks at the kickoff event for the new Education Rights Institute at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Va., on Oct. 16, 2023.
Julia Davis, University of Virginia School of Law