Educator Preparation for Disadvantaged Schools and Students

Preparation is the foundation of the educator career continuum. There is a significant link between educator preparation and educator effectiveness and, in turn, between educator effectiveness and student achievement. Continuous improvement of teacher preparation is essential to:

  • Graduating better prepared teachers and leaders who tend to stay in schools longer and therefore help create stability in schools.
  • Improving access to effective teachers and leaders by preparing teachers to serve underresourced school systems.
  • Preparing teachers and leaders with evidence-based teaching methods that promote effective instructional practices.
  • Meeting the needs of all students by preparing teachers and leaders to work with diverse students in diverse settings.

What Can I Do to Support Equitable Access to Great Teachers and Leaders?

Strategies to Consider

  • Cultivate Strong Partnerships Between Educator Preparation Programs and Local Education Agencies

    Develop strong educator preparation program and local education agency partnerships to streamline or revise approval processes for educator preparation programs and other teacher preparation providers to implement high-quality teacher residency or grow-your-own programs that directly supply high-need local education agencies with more qualified and effective teachers.

  • Measure Knowledge and Skills of Preparation Program Graduates

    Improve the validity and rigor of the assessments educator preparation programs currently use to measure the strength of their graduates’ content knowledge, teaching skill, and commitment to teaching underserved students. 

  • Provide Seamless Transitions Between Preparation and Induction

    Encourage educator preparation program and local education agency partnerships to provide seamless transitions from preparation through induction to professional teaching. To help balance teacher supply and demand, foster communication between local education agencies and preparation programs regarding local needs for new hires. 

  • Track Strengths and Weaknesses of Educator Preparation Programs

    Follow up with recent educator preparation program graduates to obtain their views of the strengths and weaknesses of their preparation in the program, especially for working in high-need schools, and respond to any problems and recommendations generated from the survey analysis.

    • Track graduates’ placement, retention, and, if possible, their effectiveness, as new accreditation and Higher Education Act Title II reporting requirements will likely require.
    • Collect data on the placement and retention of recent graduates to determine the extent to which the program serves the staffing needs of high-need schools.  


  • An Analysis of Secondary Mathematics Teacher Retirement in Kansas

    Written by faculty at the University of Kansas Center for Science Education, this report presents a detailed and compelling analysis of the extent of the need for new secondary mathematics teachers throughout Kansas in the coming years. The analysis is intended to ground a response by Kansas preparation programs, with support from state policymakers, to ensure that they are preparing enough teachers to replace those who are retiring and placing them in the districts that need them the most.
  • Arkansas Teacher Survey

    The Arkansas Partnership for Teacher Quality—a consortium involving Arkansas educator preparation programs—the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and the National Education Association conduct a periodic survey of graduates of the state’s educator preparation programs within their first five years of program completion. The survey is a rich source of data on teachers’ postgraduate teaching experience and their views of how well their preparation programs prepared them for teaching careers.
  • Creating and Sustaining Urban Teacher Residencies: A New Way to Recruit, Prepare, and Retain Effective Teachers in High-Needs Districts

    This 2008 publication from The Aspen Institute discusses the clinical residency model of teacher preparation as both an effective preparation strategy and a direct response to the problems of teacher recruitment and retention in high-need schools. Urban teacher residency programs generally have high percentages of minority graduates who are specifically trained, through strong partnerships with urban schools, to be successful teachers in those schools after graduation. The programs continue to mentor and support new teachers for several years after they take full-time positions. Because many of the residency programs prepare their candidates for a specific district, they have easy access to program graduates for mentoring follow-up and can report confident data on teacher retention and effectiveness.
  • High-Needs Schools: Preparing Teachers for Today’s World

    This publication by Bank Street College of Education is a collection of occasional papers on several topics related to teaching in challenging schools. The collection speaks most directly to teachers and provides helpful insights in thinking about the goals and essential elements of effective teacher preparation.
  • Metropolitan Multicultural Teacher Education Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

    The Metropolitan Multicultural Teacher Education Program (MMTEP) specifically serves the needs of diverse students in Milwaukee’s public schools. Using the Star Teacher Pre-Screener to gauge applicants’ commitment and readiness to teach in challenging multicultural schools, the program recruits a high percentage of minority candidates who are currently paraprofessionals into a post-baccalaureate alternate route. The program involves a short course of summer training, followed by placement as teachers of record and a year of collateral coursework and mentoring leading to certification and a guaranteed teacher contract in the Milwaukee Public Schools after program completion. Candidates are prepared to not only teach their subject but also to understand how to work with students’ families and a broad range of professionals to respond to the social, health, and emotional needs of their students. The program focuses heavily on learning to teach students with differing abilities and needs, including English language learners.
  • New Leaders

    This nontraditional program specifically trains school principals to become more effective leaders in high-need urban schools. New Leaders blends significant on-the-job training with coursework and mentoring from local educators. It includes a full year-long paid residency, with graduates placed in administrative positions in partner districts or charter schools and one more year of on-the-job professional development. New Leaders operates in 12 urban cities and collects data on graduate placement and retention and their impact on student achievement and retention and teacher effectiveness in the schools in which they work. New Leaders also provides professional development for school leaders and assistance with policy development in its partner districts and schools.
  • Preparing All Teachers to Meet the Needs of English Language Learners Applying Research to Policy and Practice for Teacher Effectiveness

    Written for the Center for American Progress, this report argues that in view of the increasing presence of English language learners (ELLs) in our nation’s classrooms, all teachers need preparation that enables them to meet these students’ needs. The report focuses principally on policies related to teacher preparation that would encourage or require educator preparation programs to prepare all teacher candidates to work with ELLs.
  • Teacher 2030: Leveraging Teacher Preparation 2.0

    This report provides insight into the perspective of classroom experts who have first-hand experience of the connections between preparation and practice. A team of teachers drafted this report, which highlights essential components for educator preparation programs, discusses how preparation aligns with the larger landscape of the profession, provides examples from nine programs with promising practices, and offers recommendations for using technology in teacher preparation.
  • The Changing Teacher Preparation Profession

    This 2013 report from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) summarizes trends in teacher preparation based on programs’ response to the organization’s annual Professional Education Data System survey. The report notes several increasingly common practices among educator preparation programs, including the increased collection of data on graduates in the field and the growing prevalence of online learning; it also notes the continued inability to diversify the teaching profession.
  • Transforming Teacher Education Through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers

    This 2010 report of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education Blue Ribbon Commission stresses the central role of clinical practice in reforming teacher preparation and recommends that educator preparation programs include inservice development of their graduates as part of their responsibility to ensure their effectiveness in the classroom.
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison/Milwaukee Public Schools Special Education Internship Program

    The University of Wisconsin–Madison (UWM)/Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Special Education Internship Program offers urban-focused special education in four certification tracks: early childhood, middle childhood, early adolescence, and deaf and hard of hearing. It has an extremely high retention rate among its graduates, and the principal ratings of graduates are also quite high. This program and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Teacher Education Program (MMTEP) are part of a much larger partnership network involving the School of Education at UWM, Milwaukee’s K–12 schools, and the greater community. The partnership seeks to strengthen the university’s teacher preparation program, aid teacher recruitment, provide professional development and advanced degree opportunities for teachers already in the schools, and offer additional education-related support to students and their families.
  • UTeach

    The UTeach Institute was originally founded at the University of Texas–Austin to provide a high-quality teacher preparation route for top science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students. Now a national program replicated on numerous campuses, UTeach is a specific response to the need for increasing the number of STEM teachers in the pipeline. UTeach actively recruits outstanding students (both undergraduate and postbaccalaureate) with high minority representation, and it prepares its teacher candidates to teach diverse students in high-need schools. After candidates complete the program and take full-time teaching positions, the program continues to provide two years of individualized mentoring and induction support. UTeach reports that the retention of its graduates in the profession is much higher than average for science and mathematics teachers, and it claims that almost half of its graduates teach in low-income schools.