Growing Teachers from Within: Implementation Impact, and Cost of an Alternative Teacher Preparation Program in Three Urban School Districts

Research Rundown Issue: November '20
Publisher: RAND Corporation
Date Published: October '20


A recent study on the impact of TNTP’s Teacher Effectiveness and Certification (TEACh) Initiative—which works to recruit, train, and license teacher candidates through programs within specific districts—found that the program contributed substantially to the supply of teachers and increasing the racial diversity of the districts they were working in. Furthermore, the TEACh candidates were certified to teach in hard-to-staff positions, like bilingual and special education. The researchers also found that TEACh candidates remained in the district at similar rates to their peers. The researchers also found that TEACh candidates were more effective in raising math and English achievement than their counterparts, a similar finding from another study on the impact of TNTP’s Teaching Fellows program.

Why This Matters in Minnesota

TNTP is one of four alternative teacher preparation programs—along with Lakes Country Service Cooperative, Learning Disabilities Association of Minnesota, and Southwest West Central Service Cooperative—that Minnesota has approved since 2017 legislation allowed programs to launch without a higher education affiliation. This type of research affirms the promise of programs like TNTP, and sets the bar for the type of outcomes-based research we should be using to understand and improve teacher prep across the state.

The research is timely as PELSB continues working to finalize rules for teacher prep approval, and in light of lingering concerns about the objectivity of PELSB’s approval process. Minnesota must pay particular attention to expanding programs that support teacher diversity and nontraditional pathways to the classroom. From 2009 to 2017, enrollment for Minnesota’s traditional teacher preparation programs has decreased by 39%, with enrollment for teachers of color declining by 10%. Of note, enrollment has decreased by 31% for Black candidates and 52% for Native American candidates. And even though the overall percentage of students of color enrolled in traditional teacher preparation programs increased from from 8.5% to 12.5%, this is due to the declines in white enrollment rather than from efforts to recruit and retain teachers of color. PELSB should work to ensure that their process is objective and legislators should reinvest in the alternative teacher preparation grant.

Read the study