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U of M, Teach for America halt teacher training program

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The University of Minnesota and Teach for America Twin Cities announced Monday they're ending a two and a half-year partnership.

Teach for America recruits teachers from around the country for initial two-year commitments at high-need schools. Since 2014, Teach for America participants in the Twin Cities have taken a summer preparation program followed by university courses toward a teaching license while they worked in the classroom.

The university says the program cost students $16,000, but that price was based on an expected minimum of 40 students. Participation declined to 18 this year, making the program unsustainable, said College of Education and Human Development Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Programs Deborah Dillon.

"We had a high quality program that we wanted to be able to deliver with the appropriate supports and instructions, but it was based on a particular financial model that then wasn't sustainable," Dillon said.

Dillon says the university decided it would have to start charging regular tuition of about $23,000.

Teach for America-Twin Cities said in a statement that price would undermine its efforts to recruit teachers from diverse backgrounds. 

"We are pleased with the outcomes of our UM partnership to date, but need to move forward with a new licensure pathway that enables us to provide an alternative, affordable route to teaching and leadership in highest-need contexts," the statement read.

Dillon said current program participants can finish their training as planned without a cost increase.