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Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers: The Role of Practice-Based Teacher Preparation Programs in Massachusetts


"National research comparing alternative and traditional routes to teaching offers little empirical evidence to guide policy changes. Yet there has been a shift in teacher preparation programs toward: longer and more intense field-based experiences; closing the gap between theory and practice; partnerships between preparation programs and local school districts; and accountability in teacher preparation. It is within this context that the Rennie Center embarked upon a project to examine the role of alternative routes to teaching in Massachusetts. ...The report highlights gaps in knowledge and areas for improvement, and lays the groundwork necessary for a deeper look at issues associated with drawing exceptional candidates into the teaching profession; filling vacant positions; measuring teacher quality; and holding teacher preparation programs accountable.

The final section of the report puts forth considerations for policymakers, K-12 school and district leaders, and institutions of higher education. The report encourages the state to facilitate and encourage communication and collaboration between those that train teachers and those that hire them, and provide teacher preparation programs with access to the state data system so they may more easily evaluate their programs. The report also encourages K-12 district leaders and deans of college and university departments of education to create lend-lease programs that would allow expert teachers to work as adjunct professors in schools of education without forfeiting their role as K-12 teachers as a way to bring both the clinical and contextualized knowledge of schools and districts into teacher training."