Teaching Profession News in Brief

Finalists to Vie For Grants On Teaching

By Stephen Sawchuk — August 25, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has advanced four school districts’ and a charter coalition’s proposals for overhauling the evaluation and training of their teachers, putting them a step closer to a cut of the $500 million the foundation is devoting to measuring and promoting teacher effectiveness.

The finalists are Hillsborough County, Fla.; a coalition of charter-management organizations in Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn; Omaha, Neb.; and Pittsburgh.

The Seattle-based foundation has spent about $2 billion on education reform over the past decade, but the “intensive partnerships for effective teaching,” as the foundation calls them, come as its first major foray into the issue of teaching quality.

“We’ve been sort of looking around for the silver bullet for education reform, and actually the answer has been right under our feet the whole time,” said John E. Deasy, the deputy director of the foundation’s education work.

The districts and coalition now must put together a “memorandum of understanding” involving such stakeholders as teachers’ unions and community officials, as a good-faith sign that they will commit to their plans if they receive the financial backing.

The program will contain a research component to determine the characteristics of effective teachers, and districts must agree to incorporate that research into their programs.

Chris Williams, a spokesman for the Gates Foundation, said officials there could choose to proceed with all five proposals. The foundation plans to make final decisions in November.

Five additional districts that were invited to submit proposals—Atlanta; Denver; Palm Beach County, Fla.; Prince George’s County, Md.; and Tulsa, Okla.—could still win smaller awards. Mr. Williams said officials were impressed with the overall caliber of the applications, and that the foundation will underwrite select portions of their proposals.

The foundation’s focus on teacher effectiveness predated the federal stimulus “assurance” on teacher quality and the Race to the Top proposed application guidelines, which have vaulted the topic to national prominence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
A version of this article appeared in the August 26, 2009 edition of Education Week


Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Boosting Student and Staff Mental Health: What Schools Can Do
Join this free virtual event based on recent reporting on student and staff mental health challenges and how schools have responded.
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.
Curriculum Webinar
Practical Methods for Integrating Computer Science into Core Curriculum
Dive into insights on integrating computer science into core curricula with expert tips and practical strategies to empower students at every grade level.
Content provided by Learning.com

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

Teaching Profession Substitute Teachers Would Like You to Stop Treating Them Like Babysitters
A research review found that substitute teachers get little respect and professional training.
6 min read
 Back view of a male teacher in classroom lecturing to elementary school students.
Teaching Profession Opinion Teachers of Color Face Unique Challenges. Here Are Some of Them
Teaching is hard enough, but educators of color face additional—often invisible—tasks.
16 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
Teaching Profession Opinion 'You Work for Us': How a Student's Slight Captures the Disrespect Teachers Face
Compare the treatment of teachers with other public servants and you’ll notice a disturbing trend.
Jherine Wilkerson
4 min read
Opinion illustration of teachers and students, about job perceptions.
Dedraw Studio/iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession Teachers Don't Qualify for Overtime Pay. Should They?
Teachers are exempt from overtime-pay laws. Some say that rule deserves a second look.
4 min read
Image of a clock on supplies.
Laura Baker/Education Week via Canva<br/>