Ford Grants $650,000 To Test Training Teachers in Schools

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The Ford Foundation last week awarded more than $650,000 in planning grants to projects testing a new approach to training future teachers.

The grants will help 11 communities shift the primary responsibility for the clinical training of teachers from colleges and universities to the public schools, where the prospective teachers will work as interns for a few months before graduating.

Each locale has formed an alliance between the school system, teachers' unions, and one or more institutions of higher education to carry out the project.

The alliances will try to design clinical training programs that introduce prospective teachers to pupils of diverse backgrounds and academic achievement as well as to teachers with a variety of instructional styles.

"We see these grants as part of a national effort to reorganize the clinical training of tomorrow's teachers," said Franklin A. Thomas, president of the foundation, in announcing the initiative.

"The cooperative leadership involved and the emphasis on exposing interns to a variety of experiences resemble the approach used in teaching hospitals," he said, "where interns learn to apply their knowledge, hone their skills, and also develop the flexibility necessary to respond to a wide range of people and situations."

The need to develop better clinical training sites has been emphasized by several national reports, including those of the Carnegie Task Force on Teaching as a Profession and the Holmes Group.

The new Ford grants are part of a broader effort by the foundation to improve the professional training and career development of the nation's public-school teachers.

In each locale, alliance members are expected to draw up plans to sustain the clinical training programs beyond the period of the foundation's support. A spokesman for the foundation said last week that there are currently no plans to extend funding beyond one year.

Most of the clinical training sites will be at the elementary- and middle-school levels, although a few high schools will be included.

The grant recipients, the amounts of their awards, and their alliance partners, are:

University of California at Los Angeles, $59,565, with the Los Angeles Unified School District and the United Teachers of Los Angeles; Center for Leadership in School Reform, Louisville, Ky., $60,000, with the University of Louisville, the Jefferson County (Ky.) Public Schools, and the Jefferson County Teachers Association; Board of Public Instruction of Dade County, Miami, Fla., $60,000, with the United Teachers of Dade County, the University of Miami, and Florida International University.

Memphis State University, $60,000, with the Memphis Public Schools, the Shelby County Schools, the Memphis Education Association, and the Shelby County Education Association; Pittsburgh Public Schools, $60,000, with the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, the Pittsburgh Administrators Association, the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania; University of Rochester, $59,325, with the Rochester (N.Y.) City Public Schools, the Rochester Teachers Association, the Webster (N.Y.) Public Schools, the Webster Teachers Association, Nazareth College, and the State University of New York-Brockport.

San Francisco State University, $58,850, with the San Francisco Unified School District and the San Francisco Classroom Teachers Association; University of Southern Maine, $59,750, with three Maine school districts--Portland, Gorham, and Westbrook--and the organizations representing teachers in each district; Syracuse University, $59,650, with the Syracuse (N.Y.) City Schools District, the West Genesse (N.Y.) Schools District, the teachers' organizations in both districts, and the teacher centers in Syracuse and West Genesee.

Teachers College, Columbia University, $60,000, with Community School District #3 in Manhattan and the United Federation of Teachers of New York City; University of Washington, Seattle, $60,000, with the Puget Sound Educational Consortium, which consists of 14 school districts in the Greater Seattle area, and the Washington Education Association.--lo

Vol. 08, Issue 14

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