April 29, 2002 Vol. VI, No. 15

Northridge Asked to Join National Teacher Prep Initiative

University and Three Other Schools in Line to Receive $5 Million, Five-Year Grant Awards

Cal State Northridge, California's leading public university in preparing future teachers, has been asked to participate in a landmark $40 million national initiative to develop model teacher training programs for the nation-a project expected to be funded through a $5 million, five-year grant to the university.

Northridge is one of only four universities across the country that have been invited by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to submit proposals for its "Teachers for a New Era" initiative. Carnegie and several funding partners plan to announce grant awards to the four selected institutions later this year.

Northridge and the three other institutions-Michigan State University, the University of Virginia and Bank Street College of Education in New York City-were independently chosen by Carnegie after a national review of teacher education programs with the potential to become national models.

"Teaching reform is central to school reform, and these institutions are pioneers in the movement," said Vartan Gregorian, president of the corporation. "If we really want to improve student achievement, we have no choice but to improve teaching. As the 19th century French philosopher Victor Cousin succinctly put it, 'As is the teacher, so is the school.' "

CSUN President Jolene Koester said the university was honored to be asked to participate in such a prestigious project. "Northridge is already recognized as a leader in teacher education. Taking part in the initiative will allow us to build upon an already successful program," Koester said.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for us to participate in a national effort to refine, engage and improve the quality of teaching," the president added. "The Carnegie Corporation initiative recognizes the importance of integrating all the elements-from the arts and sciences to the fundamentals-that are critical to a solid education."

Chancellor Charles B. Reed, head of the 23-campus California State University system, said he is proud Northridge is being recognized for its outstanding teacher education program. "Cal State Northridge is an example of the best of what the CSU system has to offer," the chancellor said.

"We are extremely grateful to the Carnegie Corporation for offering this opportunity and for raising national awareness of the importance of high-quality teacher preparation," Reed added. "The CSU shares with the Carnegie Corporation its belief that the preparation of high-quality teachers is an essential precondition for improving our country's K-12 schools."

"We are excited about the opportunity to build on the existing strengths of our teacher preparation program," said Louanne Kennedy, Northridge's provost and vice president of academic affairs. "This will allow us to develop strong methods for measuring pupil performance with teachers who have been prepared by Cal State Northridge."

The success of the schools chosen for the initiative, their teacher graduates and the research their efforts produce are expected to become models for the rest of the nation. Ultimately, Carnegie expects its initiative will include at least eight institutions by 2004.

Under President Gregorian's leadership, the Carnegie Corporation has made higher education issues, particularly reform of teacher education, one of its highest priorities.

"At the conclusion of this investment," said Daniel Fallon, chair of the corporation's education division, "the participating universities will be seen as having established the standards for best practice in educating professional teachers."

Money to fund the initiative is coming from several sources. Carnegie plans to contribute more than $30 million. The Ford Foundation and the Annenberg Foundation each have each committed $5 million. The Rockefeller Foundation will cover the costs of a major ongoing external evaluation of the initiative. The number of participating education institutions also could increase if other foundations join the initiative in future years.

Once funded by the initiative, each of the participating institutions will be required to match their $5 million grants with an equal amount of local funds during the five-year period. Additional foundation grants will cover evaluations and up to $750,000 will be given to each school to share with local partners such as school districts.

Andrew Carnegie created the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 1911 to promote "the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding."

The Carnegie Corporation awards grants totaling about $75 million a year in the areas of education, international peace and security, international development and strengthening U.S. democracy.

@csun | April 29, 2002 issue
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