Final Thought: Supplement Not Supplant?

Those of us who apply for federal grants hate this phrase.  The idea: we don’t want to give you money for anything you’d already be doing (even if you’re short of dough).  Only $ for new stuff.

There’s a version of supplement-not-supplant in student teaching.  Most student teaching moves an experienced teacher out of the room.  Then the novice tries.  That’s supplant.  Kids learn less.

In our teacher residency, we supplement.  Kids take additional classes on Fridays, Saturdays, and summers.  They get more time learning — not as efficiently as with our more experienced teachers, but still helpful time.

Just got a note from a Boston-area principal about her summer program.  She writes:

·         We got to have at least one parent meeting with every single kid whose behavior, attendance, and work habits we’re worried about.
·         We’ve answered hundreds of questions from kids and parents about the school – the expectations, the policies, etc.
·         We have a sense of which kids might need to be evaluated for special ed services, so now we’re getting the ball rolling on that process.
·         We’ve done all of this without asking any of our very hard-working regular teachers to spend a single hour with kids this summer.

That’s because the summer academy for incoming kids was taught by our teacher residents.

I mention this because there is a simple win-win out there.

*Teacher prep programs increasingly want more practice time (and more concrete feedback) for their future teachers.  Particularly if Obama wins, and Duncan then gets to see through the Ed School accountability aspect of his work.

*Schools want more learning time for kids.  Chicago, Boston are two cities that recently made deals.

Only logistics stand in the way.  Anyone?  Bueller?

Fun week.  Thanks to Andy for the forum, and to his readers.

-Guestblogger Mike Goldstein

2 Replies to “Final Thought: Supplement Not Supplant?”

  1. The Harkin-Enzi ESEA bill–much maligned by the reform community– included a supplement/not supplant fix. The Kline ESEA bills did not.

  2. Summer teaching isn’t the same as classroom teaching. And while I’m sure it’s useful for administrators to have a bunch of free labor around, the student teachers are actually paying to be your workhorses, so it’s really important they get the skills they need. There’s a word for summer school teaching: TFA. Not anything useful.

    And by the way, the funding stuff isn’t even remotely like student teaching. We’ve been training teachers this way for generations, and it works just fine. Don’t confuse your little cocoon of low income, low-skilled kids with the reality of the larger world.

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