Understanding the Barriers and Opportunities for Making Sustainable, High-Quality Teacher Preparation Accessible to Prospective Candidates


Thank you for your interest in the RFP on Teacher Preparation

The RFP is now closed.


Guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is committed to ensuring that all students in the United States have the opportunity to receive a high-quality education. Our K-12 program aims to increase the number of Black, Latino, and low-income students who earn a high school diploma, enroll in a postsecondary institution, and are on-track in their first year to attain a high-quality credential. 

To achieve this goal, schools that serve our valued student population need to be staffed by diverse, effective teachers. In many communities, this is not the current reality. Teacher shortages, especially in high-need areas of special education, math, science, bilingual education, are exacerbated by high attrition rates and declining enrollment in many preparation programs. 

From the perspective of prospective teachers of color, there are a series of obstacles to overcome on the path to becoming a teacher. These include selecting and being admitted to a quality program, securing the finances necessary to pay for costs (tuition, books, licensure exams, living expenses during student teaching), and finding employment in schools that support their needs as novice educators. 

From the perspective of teacher preparation preparation leaders, there are challenges associated with implementing high-quality, sustainable programming (change management, losing enrollment to shorter or less expensive programs).

The field is in need of models that answer the question, “How can organizations that prepare teachers sustainably implement high-quality programming that is affordable and accessible to a diverse (by race, by gender) pool of teacher candidates?”

Alongside our partners, we have articulated a set of conditions across the pathway into teaching that we believe will result in diverse (by race, by gender), effective teaching workforce to support positive outcomes for Black, Latino, and low-income students.  The table below describes those conditions. This project will focus on the two highlighted areas.


The goals of this project are to:

  • Describe the barriers that inhibit the transformation to and implementation of financially sustainable, scaled, high-quality teacher preparation (as defined by this framework
  • Describe the barriers that inhibit candidates from accessing sustainable, high-quality programs 
  • Produce case studies of  K-12 school systems, preparation programs, state agencies, and/or other organizations that have overcome those barriers, and
  • Generate practical tools that K-12 school systems, preparation programs, and state agencies can use to address barriers.

Anticipated Deliverables

This project is expected to produce the following deliverables:

  • Narrative report that (1) clearly articulates the barriers that inhibit the transformation to and implementation of sustainable, high-quality teacher preparation (as defined by this  Outcomes and Indicators Framework)  (2) articulates the barriers to candidates accessing sustainable, high-quality programs. The narrative report should include the case studies noted below, and (3) provides an overview of solutions/tools and references the toolkit below
  • Set of accessible, easy-to-read, evidence-based toolkits with tangible, sustainable practices and artifacts aimed at teacher preparation stakeholders at varying levels (such as state agencies, teacher preparation programs, K-12 school systems, and funders) that can be implemented to address common barriers.
  • Case studies that illustrate a variety of models (including alternative and traditional certification; undergraduate and graduate programs) and promising practices (i.e., revenue sources, creative financial models, creative program models, creative staffing structures, operational procedures, technology practices, partnership models, cost sharing strategies, state statutes and/or policies that create enabling conditions, etc.) used by these programs for implementing financially sustainable teacher preparation programs. The case studies should integrate tools from the toolkits.
  • Set of communication tools (e.g., slide deck, infographic, one-page executive summary) which  summarize the report for varied audiences, including but not limited to: state agencies, teacher preparation programs, K-12 school systems, and funders.
  • Distribution plan with specific benchmarks for disseminating all deliverables. Target audiences should include teacher preparation programs, state and federal education agencies, and funders.

Project Budget

Through this RFP, we anticipate one grant award, though may consider additional awards if applications are particularly strong or complementary. 

The following guidelines should be used to develop your proposed budget:

  • The project timeline is April 2, 2020 – December 31, 2020
  • Maximum funding available for this engagement is $250,000.  

The budget should align with planned activities and timelines within each budget period of the grant. 

RFP Timeline

Activity Timeline
RFP opens Dec 1, 2019
Applications due Jan 17, 2020
Finalist(s) notified  Feb 21, 2020
Finalists proposal shaping March 6, 2020
Target funding date April 1, 2020

RFP Application Process

To apply, please complete this form by 5:00PM Pacific time on January 17, 2020.


Because we have a focus on achieving charitable outcomes, we view information obtained through our grantmaking as public good. Our internal grantmaking and other systems support sharing of proposal documents, including with external reviewers. Unless otherwise specifically agreed in writing, you should not assume that information will be kept confidential and should not include any information in the proposal, budget or supplemental materials that you consider proprietary.


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