Charging student teachers for placements?

Twitter was all a twitter this afternoon (yes when I was supposed to be finishing up work on my maths assignment) about a school district in the United States which from the next school year will be charging student teachers between $1200-$1500US a placement. Medford school district is looking to plug gaps in its budget and one of the ways it is seeking to do so is through asking student teachers to pony up with funds for practicums.

At first I thought to myself ZOMG how could do they do THAT? But then I am also paying for my practicum in so far as I get charged tuition fees by the university and my associate teachers get a small stipend back from the university. But my fees are about $6000NZ (to be honest I have no idea how much my diploma is, I just whacked it on the student loan) and according to the union contracts the payments for associate teachers are nominal.

The school district who instituted this policy has quickly found that the universities in the area have said thanks but no thanks to placing students in the district’s schools. For the time being other districts have said they won’t ask for payment for student teacher placements but I could see it becoming popular.

The story does make an odd juxtaposition that some school boards in America willing pay $5000 per hire for untrained teachers from the Teach For America the programme I mentioned previously while another school board is asking people who are putting in the time and energy to pay for the privilege.

Hopefully this idea won’t see the light of day in New Zealand.

10 thoughts on “Charging student teachers for placements?

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  1. In Victoria, Aus, we have a fairly similar occurrence to you.

    We pay (paid, some time ago for me now!) a subject contribution to enrol in a ‘practicum subject’ as uni. No classes or lectures, but the subject fees go to pay for the coordinator and the payments to supervising teachers.

    It always seemed a lot of money, and somewhat unfair that we ended up paying for it. Supervising teachers certainly didn’t receive the lion’s share…

    I know of one university that negotiated an arrangement where instead of receiving a payment for supervising a student teacher, the university would offer x hours of professional development to the school/teacher.

    Though as a now somewhat experienced teacher, were I to have a student teacher in my classroom, I think I’d rather have the $!



  2. As far as I’m concerned, the associate teacher should be receiving a decent payment as my first one was just awesome. However I think I’ll pay it back by offering to be an associate teacher (when I am awesome teacher and have something to offer).


  3. Your post caught my eye (as I am also a pre-service teacher) and shocked me that such a ridiculous idea could have been put into practice!

    Pre-service teachers already struggle financially whilst on placement. I cannot imagine the added burden of paying for placement in a school.

    I don’t think placement is a privilege but a requirement to ensure all teachers in the system are of a high standard.

    Lets hope this ridiculous idea gets swiped and doesn’t come to you in New Zealand or anywhere else for that matter!



      1. It’s very scary how hellbent we seem on racing after the schemes adopted by the UK and the US, when so many are screaming that they just don’t work.

        Standardized testing, performance pay etc…

        All the evidence says “Colossal Failure! Abort Abort!” and still we head down the same path.



  4. I forgot to say, I have been enjoying looking around your blog. I’m new to blogging and PLN’s and so it was exciting to see another pre-service teacher contributing to the education community!

    Thanks for the inspiration and motivation!


  5. The associate teacher allowance are not paid from the course fees in New Zealand. I don’t think this idea will gain traction in NZ as nurturing and guiding student teachers (future colleagues) is seen as a professional responsibility. I could only see a change if teachers started to consider that they compete with each other rather than collaborate.


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