The Education Innovator #4
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The Education Innovator
 March 24, 2003 • Number 4
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What's New
Innovations in the News

Standards-Based Teacher Education Project
Recent surveys show that many teachers do not feel prepared to teach to new, rigorous academic content standards. One reason may be the lack of alignment between what teachers learn in college and what they are expected to teach in the classroom. The Council for Basic Education (CBE) and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) are engaged in a multi-state initiative to help universities redesign their teacher preparation programs to address this critical issue. The Standards-Based Teacher Education Project, also known as STEP, is built on three principles. Teachers must know 1) the subjects they are teaching, 2) how to teach students so that they can learn at high levels, and 3) how to monitor student progress. STEP has become a partner with 25 colleges of education to redefine their curriculum according to these principles.

STEP advises colleges as they establish an evaluation process of a candidate's content knowledge and teaching skills. Any modifications in curriculum under the direction of STEP are then analyzed and reported. STEP also inspects the entry, interim, and exit assessments conducted by the colleges to reveal how well new teachers master a subject area. By helping colleges institutionalize a standards-based education, STEP supports program applications for national accreditation. Another benefit is that STEP has strengthened partnerships among faculty across college campuses as they work to create multiple assessments that judge teacher quality.

Some of the schools in the STEP program receive federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education. For more information about STEP, go to standard_activities.htm


What's New
From the U.S. Department of Education

This month's "Education News Parents Can Use," was broadcast live over the Web on March 18. The Web cast covers citizenship, character development, and understanding the value of volunteerism and service. To view the program online, go to (March 18)

The Department needs field readers for its Smaller Learning Communities competition. Information is available at (March 7)

From OII

A Web cast interview of Deputy Under Secretary Rees can be viewed at In the interview, which is conducted by a student, Ms. Rees shares her experience and insight as an education policymaker and government leader. Nortel Network Kidz Online provides free videos and lesson plans to help integrate technology into the classroom. Kidz Online is funded by a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Education. (March 12)

Parental Involvement

A new partnership seeks to engage parents as decision-makers. Parent Leadership Associates brings together KSA-Plus Communications and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. For more information about the partnership and materials for parents related to No Child Left Behind, go to (March 17)


Leaders of three education organizations discuss some Department of Education initiatives, including the "What Works Clearinghouse" in an editorial for Education Week. To read the article, go to Education Week. (March 12)

The Manhattan Institute's Education Research Office offers an online collection of education facts. For example, the average teacher's starting salary in the U.S., in constant 1999-2000 dollars, was $27,232 in 1990-91. It was only $27,989 in 1999-2000. The rise was only 2.8 percent. The Institute's article in National Review Online gives an explanation of this growth rate. To access information about teachers' salaries in individual states, to read the article, go to (Feb 10)


The Center on Reinventing Public Education has recently released its new e-mail digest. The quarterly online publication includes recent books and papers by center researchers and a list of forthcoming studies. To be added to the mailing list, go to (Spring 2003)

Funding Opportunity

The competition is now open for grants under the Public Charter Schools Program. The deadline to submit applications is April 28, 2003.


Innovations in the News

School Choice
Minnesotans believe strongly in public school choice, and nearly six of 10 support the state's open enrollment laws according to a new survey by the University of Minnesota's Center for School Change. [More-Pioneer Press] (March 13)

School Choice
A bill before the Texas legislature would create a voucher pilot program in 11 large school districts. The program would give students "freedom scholarships" and is seen as a test case for a statewide rollout of vouchers. [More-Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas)] (March 13)

Four New York teachers were recognized this week by the Bertelsmann Foundation for their innovative and sustained use of technology in the classroom. [More-The Queens Chronicle] (March 13)

School Improvement
Brian Crosby argues in his book-"The $100,000 Teacher" - that six-figure salaries should be paid to teachers at the top of the profession. This is just one of his innovative ideas. [More-The Sun (Baltimore)] (March 11)

Magnet Schools
A new inter-district magnet school, focusing on an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, will open in East Hartford, CT. The International Academy has installed technology for distance learning and expanded instruction in foreign languages. [More-East Hartford Gazette] (March 7)


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Last Modified: 04/26/2011