Implementing Teachers for a New Era

Some Promising Indicators of Change

by Sheila Nataraj Kirby, Jennifer Sloan McCombs, Scott Naftel, Heather Barney

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In 2001, Carnegie Corporation of New York launched an ambitious reform initiative, Teachers for a New Era (TNE), to reform the way teachers are prepared in the nation. Joined by other foundations, Carnegie selected 11 institutions for grants of $5 million over a period of five years to reform their teacher education programs according to the principles laid out by Carnegie in its original prospectus. RAND and Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) are jointly conducting an evaluation of TNE at six of the 11 sites, funded by the Rockefeller and Nellie Mae Education Foundations. Earlier reports have documented the progress of implementation of TNE in the six sites. This paper seeks to pull together and highlight some promising indicators of change and innovative activities in the six sites over this time period. We focus on implementation progress in three main areas-induction; engagement with arts and sciences; and evidence for program improvement and for measuring the impact of teacher education programs on pupil learning gains. Obviously, the sites are still early in their implementation activities and many of the steps being undertaken are preliminary or exploratory. There is no evidence that a particular activity is effective in improving teacher education and it is far too early to judge whether TNE is achieving what it set out to do. However, some of the culture changes as evidenced by the conversations between arts and sciences, K-12, and education faculty and the attention being paid to gathering evidence about the preparation of teacher candidates are in themselves interesting and noteworthy. As the paper points out, whether these activities will be sustained beyond the life of the grant remains an open question.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Rockefeller Foundation and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and was conducted by RAND Education.

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