Archive for June, 2014

Stipend and Student Co-teaching

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The 2013-2014 school year closes, but in states that have not dropped out of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) program teachers already attend workshops for the 2014-2015 implementation.

We’ve spoken endlessly about CCSS; about testing controversy for the new standards; about teacher evaluation tied, or about to be, to the new standards. Just this week, in Los Angeles, a judge has upheld a case to eliminate tenure and “last in, first fired” in the California education code. The Gates Foundation, big supporter of CCSS, has asked for a moratorium to allow states to resolve problems as new systems take hold. The Obama administration has defined opportunities to pay back student loans.

Nevertheless, dropout rates, poor graduation rates, poor scores on the tests tried this spring have continued to worry education experts of low-income schools. Second language students and special education children are affected. How does the community provide services to that crew of students?

Let’s solve two problems based on updating preparation in college teacher credential programs.

First, student loan fees pile up, leftover from undergraduate classes, while most potential credential candidates pursue education classes day after day before unpaid student teaching. Second, the school community knows that more adults in low-income school classrooms support students. For example, at SPARK schools in Newark, New Jersey, students improved because money assigned to the charter school was spent on additional personnel. (New Yorker, May 19, 2014, “Schooled” by Dale Russakoff)

At San Jose State University (SJSU), co-teaching has been established as the credential model to prepare student teachers for the K-12 classroom of today. SJSU Dean of Lurie College, Debbie Chin, has noted that special education preparation has long used such a model. The plan to make co-teaching the preparation model for credential programs will be most successful when it becomes a way to pay back student loans. Why not provide a stipend for co-teaching?

State universities provide scholarships; turn them into stipends. State legislatures furnish funds to credential programs; change the money to stipends. If a charter school such as SPARK can adjust its finances, surely public school districts can find a way to do so. Foundations that have traditionally funded new ideas for schools and other groups like the NewSchools Venture Fund can establish the wages/payments for loans to provide pay for student teachers in public schools.

Controversy over poor teacher salaries goes on non-stop. Paying stipends to student teachers who co-teach in low-income schools and can pay back their loans encourages high quality that the education community desires.