Reforming Teacher Education

Levine was Dean at Teachers College until 2006.  He left with a bang—the publication of a hard-hitting review of teacher preparation, Educating School Teachers.  Levine took over the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation which could have been a glide path to retirement.  Instead, Art is doing what he recommended in his report—reinventing teacher preparation in America.
Levine shifted the focus from higher ed to a recognized critical path issue—K-12 math and science teachers—with states as the unit of change.  He recognized that a focused effort to prepare about 120 teachers could solve the entire urban math-science teacher shortage in a state like Michigan.
WWFF is helping three, soon to be five, states reinvent teacher preparation.  They begin by asking a university to rethink preparation by focusing on outcomes, building school district partnerships, joining subject and pedagogy.  WWFF offers a $500k matching grant that funds 20 fellowships including a one year masters degree.  Fellows with an undergraduate degree in math or science agree to teach for three years in high need districts.
Regional foundations are stepping up to expand the effort; Kellogg committed $16.7 million in Michigan and Lilly invested $10.2 million in Indiana.  Ohio invested $9 million and included the program in the states successful RttT application.
Next up for Levine may be an entirely new competency-based blended learning model of teacher preparation—the ed school of one.
Education is fortunate to have an insightful critic turned reformer.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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