Without the benefit of strong preparation experiences, new teachers enter the classroom unprepared, often under challenging circumstances in under-resourced urban and rural communities. To compound the issue, less than excellent preparation for this demanding job contributes to high rates of teacher turnover, which brings with it a substantial financial cost and results in further lost learning opportunities for students. In other words, the low-cost option in teacher preparation comes with considerable hidden costs. Districts operating with tight budget constraints spend millions of dollars filling the same jobs over and over, which districts have reported as “a drain on already scarce resources that could otherwise be invested to improve teacher effectiveness.”
Investing in “quick fix” teacher preparation puts more at-risk students in the hands of ill-prepared teachers and expecting traditional programs to flip a switch is not reasonable. The fact is that despite “quick fix” efforts to fill classrooms with teachers, this strategy leaves teachers under-prepared and results in higher turnover. Residencies provide a flexible solution to these challenges and a long-term model for improved prep overall.