States and the District of Columbia submitted their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) implementation plans to the Department of Education in April and May of 2017, with a second round in October. Based on input from a wide range of stakeholders, states looked at ways to utilize federal supports to ensure students have access to the most effective teachers, and teachers have the tools they need to be successful.

After the plans were made public, organizations like Bellwether Education Partners, the Collaborative for Student Success, Alliance for Education, National Council on Teacher Quality and the Brookings Institution reviewed the submissions to understand their overall strengths and weaknesses, and to determine whether they contained important elements like educator equity and benchmarks for federal accountability. NCTR has also studied the plans to better understand how states intend to improve teacher preparation. Through this blog series, we will discuss how states have addressed teacher residencies, the core components of effective teacher preparation, and teacher recruitment in their ESSA implementation language.

The flexibility under ESSA offers states the unique opportunity to improve how they recruit, select, prepare and support educators, and to direct federal funding to those purposes.

In the initial state submissions, the majority of plans included commitments from states to use federal professional development dollars to support shifts toward teacher residencies or other components of clinical-based teacher preparation. Louisiana, Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan and New Mexico have specifically named residencies as a key approach to preparing teachers for the classroom and improving teacher retention – especially in high-need districts. States have also identified mentoring, induction, and teacher recruitment as key priorities to improve teacher effectiveness.

NCTR is committed to supporting states as they work to improve teacher preparation as one critical lever to improve student outcomes. This summer, NCTR developed “Recommendations for State Support of Effective Teacher Residencies” in consultation with residencies, states, and advocacy organizations. The recommendations illustrate opportunities for states and school districts to use their authority under ESSA to improve teacher preparation through the residency model and clinical preparation. In the weeks to come, NCTR will highlight some of these opportunities, and share specific language from state plans that focus on strengthening the core elements of effective teacher preparation.

Next up: Part 2: ESSA State Plans and Teacher Residencies