The top priority of the Quality Education Council Report is to “Make Progress Toward Ample Funding for Basic Education.” The QEC recognizes many “non—basic education programs to be essential for providing critical services for students” – including funds for professional development. A little further down the list of priorities is support for the recruitment, development, placement, and retention of educators who are culturally competent and possess skills and competencies in language acquisition.
That’s what I do. I am part of a team of six Instructional Mentors who oversee the novice teacher induction program. But funding for our position does not come from the state.
Each year we apply for Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title II. Part A- Teacher and Principal Training and Recruiting Fund grant. We’ve been awarded a slice of the $40,000,000 pie.
Even if the entire $40 million went to Washington state, the pie wouldnt be big enough. "Using the average number of first, second, and third year teachers over a five year period from 2007– 2012, calculations show that fully funding an effective mentor and induction system in Washington would cost $42,856,892." OSPI
Washington state recognizes the importance of novice teacher induction and authorizes funding in statute but doesn't not currently provide funding beyond "Beginning Educator Support Team" (BEST) grants- and those grants reached 390 beginning teachers- affecting more than 35,000 students. OSPI
New teacher support is an important leverage point for education reform. Investment in a high quality induction program is money well spent.
“Induction programs that focus on improving instruction and teacher effectiveness have been proven to increase retention and improve student achievement. In an analysis of national data, Ingersoll and Smith (2004) found that a comprehensive induction program cut the new teacher turnover rate in half. In a cost-benefit analysis of a high quality induction program, Villar and Strong (2007) reported that the students of new teachers who experienced strong induction “in general, achieve in patterns that mirror the achievement rates of students assigned to more experienced mid-career teachers.” The costs of such programs will at least be partially offset by increases in teacher retention and subsequent decreases in the costs of turnover. It is very possible that a district could save money by investing in an effective induction program.” Source
If supporting novice teachers and accelerating their professional growth is a good decision. Then supporting novice teachers and recouping a portion of that investment through greater teacher retention is an excellent decision.