Sustainable Strategies for Funding Teacher Residencies: Lessons From California

Kathy Yun and Karen DeMoss

Learning Policy Institute

November 12, 2020

With significant state investment, teacher residencies are spreading throughout California. These vignettes highlight two California teacher residencies and how they are helping to address shortages and support both students and teachers. These examples also spotlight creative funding strategies that can help California’s investments in teacher residencies become sustainable over time.

Like many states, California has faced acute teacher shortages for a number of years, particularly in special education, mathematics and science, and bilingual education. In the 2017-18 school year, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) issued more than 13,000 intern credentials, permits, and waivers—all substandard credentials allowing underprepared individuals to enter classrooms as teachers of record, primarily in schools serving concentrations of students from low-income families. High-quality teacher residencies provide an avenue for addressing California’s teacher shortage areas. Research suggests that high-quality teacher residencies can prepare effective teachers who stay in the profession, helping to reduce high rates of teacher turnover and end the revolving door of educators in the highest-need schools. In addition, residencies, when adequately funded, often provide financially feasible pathways for candidates and are more likely to recruit teachers of color than other pathways into teaching.

In 2018, California allocated $75 million in seed funding to support teacher residency programs across the state. The vignettes below describe how two residency programs—in Humboldt County and Fresno—are helping to solve shortages and strengthen schools while developing sustainable programs that can be maintained over time.