Carnegie demands revamp of teacher training

September 27, 2002

The influential Carnegie Corporation of New York has called for a radical revamping of the way American teachers are trained by schools of education, asking for a two-year "residency" programme similar to that used to prepare doctors.

The foundation pledged $40 million (£26 million) over the next three years to implement the idea, which it calls Teachers for a New Era.

In a report, the foundation says that research makes it clear "beyond doubt" that "the quality of the teacher is the most important cause of pupil achievement. More than ever, the nation needs assurance that colleges and universities are educating prospective teachers of the highest quality possible".

Yet amid all the clamour for educational reform, no real change in teacher training has been tried.

Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, said the major problem was that schools of education tended to be on "the periphery of universities" rather than at or near the centre.

The Carnegie proposal would require participating universities to provide students with mentors and "coaches" for two years as they begun their careers.

"Education should be understood as an academically taught clinical practice profession, requiring close cooperation between colleges of education and actual practicing schools," the report says.

"Success will require radical change in allocation of resources" among other things, it adds.

Universities that have agreed to test the idea include California State University at Northridge, the University of Virginia, Bank Street College and Michigan State University.

Each of these will receive $5 million and will have to raise an equal amount of money from other private donors.

Details: www.carnegie.org/pdf/teachered.pdf

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