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Event taps education leaders' expertise on teacher quality

On Feb. 5, more than 200 of Minnesota's top education leaders and policymakers met at the University of Minnesota to discuss how to develop, measure, and support teacher effectiveness and quality. Hosted by the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development and moderated by Karen Seashore, the Robert H. Beck Professor of Ideas in Education, a panel of state and national experts shared perspectives from across the spectrum of the education industry. Panel members included Misty Sato, who holds the new Carmen Starkson Campbell Endowed Chair in Education; Bush Foundation President Peter Hutchinson; St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva, Teach for America President Matthew Kramer; and Garnet Franklin, education issues specialist for Education Minnesota.

Sato focused on the teaching profession as a cycle, from recruitment and preparation, early career support and ongoing professional development. The ultimate goal, she said, is for the most effective, experienced teachers to become master teachers who can help those who are new to the profession.

Sato also highlighted a number of teacher effectiveness initiatives nationwide, including two at the college. The Teacher Support Partnership--a collaboration between CEHD, the Minnesota Department of Education, Education Minnesota, and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities--has developed guidelines for supporting early career teachers. The college's Teacher Education Redesign Initiative (TERI) is building partnerships with the schools where graduates of the teacher preparation program will teach. As part of TERI, the college is also the lead institution among state teacher preparation programs working with the Minnesota Department of Education on a national pilot assessment for pre-service teachers.

The panel members followed with their perspectives on teacher quality, based in their individual experiences in education. Hutchinson reiterated the call for ongoing partnerships between pre-K-12 schools and districts and colleges of education. The foundation has funded TERI with a $4.5 million grant--part of a $40 million overall investment in seven regional higher education partners over the next 10 years.

Panelists also addressed a number of issues posed by Seashore related to attracting and retaining high quality teachers and specific policy recommendations to meet those challenges. Though some disagreed on controversial topics such as tenure and alternative teacher preparation, they all expressed their commitment and urgency towards solving the complex challenges of an educational system that does not work for all students. They also repeated the vitality of cooperation across higher education, pre-K-12 and state systems.

Read the media release about the event. A complete synopsis and video recording of the event are posted on the event Web site.

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