Education Funding

Philanthropies Launch Teacher-Training Fellowships

By Vaishali Honawar — December 19, 2007 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has announced an ambitious national- and state-level fellowship program to lure college graduates and midcareer professionals to long-term teaching careers in high-need schools.

Creators say the $17 million program, underwritten by the Lilly Endowment, the Annenberg Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, is intended to raise the profile of teaching as a career and to overhaul teacher education itself in the long run.

“We want to get excellent teachers to high-needs schools in cities and rural areas, we want to attract the best and brightest to teaching and to dignify the profession, we want to retain the top teachers, and we want to transform teacher education,” said Arthur E. Levine, the president of the foundation.

The fellowship is two-pronged. The state-level program will begin in Indiana, with more states, including Ohio, expected to launch similar programs next year. Fellows, to be named in spring 2009, will receive a $30,000 stipend to complete a yearlong master’s program at one of four partner institutions—Ball State University, Purdue University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and the University of Indianapolis. In return, they must commit to teach mathematics and science in the state’s schools for three years.

The national fellowship is described as a “Rhodes scholarship” for teaching. It expects to produce 100 fellows over three years and includes a $30,000 stipend and one year of graduate education at four of the nation’s top programs—Stanford University, the University of Washington, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Virginia. Fellows in the national program will also have to agree to teach for three years in low-income schools.

Curriculum Changes

The attempt to attract the brightest talent to teaching is not new. Teach For America, for instance, has lured fresh college graduates with a two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools. In New York City, a partnership between the school district and two teacher programs offers candidates free tuition and mentoring support if they commit to teach math and science for two years.

But those behind the Woodrow Wilson program see it as having a bigger, national-level impact.

“The program is designed to have incredible leverage,” said Mr. Levine, a former president of Teachers College, Columbia University. Once it takes off, he said he expects many more “very able people” will look toward teaching as a desirable profession, and other colleges of education will set up similar fellowships. He also hopes that once the money from the philanthropies runs out, states would pitch in with funds.

The four Indiana colleges will take on 20 fellows each year and receive an additional $500,000 so they can make such changes as introducing new curriculum and outcome measures. Students will get three years of mentoring as they start teaching. Colleges are to establish residencies in which teachers will spend time on their campuses helping to plan the teacher education programs, while professors will spend time in K-12 classrooms.

Mr. Levine said the foundation zeroed in on Indiana partly because it believed the fellowship would have a bigger effect there. The 80 teachers it would generate annually would make up one-fourth of the new math and science teachers the state produces each year.

Pat Swails, the president of the Indiana chapter of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, called it a “fantastic” idea.

“Our problem is that a lot of the students of math and science go to industry because they have respect there and a competitive salary, none of which is available to teachers of math and science consistently across the state,” she said.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the December 19, 2007 edition of Education Week as Philanthropies Launch Teacher-Training Fellowships


Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Roundtable Webinar: Why We Created a Portrait of a Graduate
Hear from three K-12 leaders for insights into their school’s Portrait of a Graduate and learn how to create your own.
Content provided by Otus

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding What New School Spending Data Show About a Coming Fiscal Cliff
New data show just what COVID-relief funds did to overall school spending—and the size of the hole they might leave in school budgets.
4 min read
Photo illustration of school building and piggy bank.
F. Sheehan for Education Week + iStock / Getty Images Plus
Education Funding When There's More Money for Schools, Is There an 'Objective' Way to Hand It Out?
A fight over the school funding formula in Mississippi is kicking up old debates over how to best target aid.
7 min read
Illustration of many roads and road signs going in different directions with falling money all around.
Education Funding Explainer How Can Districts Get More Time to Spend ESSER Dollars? An Explainer
Districts can get up to 14 additional months to spend ESSER dollars on contracts—if their state and the federal government both approve.
4 min read
Illustration of woman turning back hands on clock.
Education Week + iStock / Getty Images Plus Week
Education Funding Education Dept. Sees Small Cut in Funding Package That Averted Government Shutdown
The Education Department will see a reduction even as the funding package provides for small increases to key K-12 programs.
3 min read
President Joe Biden delivers a speech about healthcare at an event in Raleigh, N.C., on March 26, 2024.
President Joe Biden delivers a speech about health care at an event in Raleigh, N.C., on March 26. Biden signed a funding package into law over the weekend that keeps the federal government open through September but includes a slight decrease in the Education Department's budget.
Matt Kelley/AP