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.