As part of the National Review of Teacher Preparation Programs, we've been poring over the agreements school districts and traditional programs sign defining the arrangements for student teaching, the nearly universal semester-long apprenticeship required of candidates. In the process we've come across something quite interesting: many of them ask hosting districts to give their candidates a good look when they're actually hiring teachers.
Now, the vague language in some of these agreements — suggesting student teachers should be "given consideration" for full-time employment — is often not enforceable. However, one large producer of teachers made it clear to a partner urban district that their student teachers should be afforded "preferential hiring" for a minimum of TWO years. And no, there's no mention that the performance of the student teacher should be taken into consideration in making these sorts of decisions.
You have to wonder: why do teacher preparation programs place such stipulations in their contracts? It could be, of course, that the programs doubt that districts can track their high-performing student teachers. But could it be that the programs themselves doubt their candidates' abilities to shine during what could be seen as a semester-long audition?