Teacher Preparation

Gates’ Teacher-Prep Grants Will Fund Cooperatives to Scale, Share Practices

By Stephen Sawchuk — May 04, 2015 1 min read
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You’ll remember that last week we reported on the Gates Foundation’s plans to issue new grants for teacher preparation. Under an RFP released last Friday, we now know some important details: The philanthropy will be funding “cooperatives” that will help member preparation programs pilot, develop, and share practices across several member programs that prepare teachers.

Under a competitive application process, the cooperatives—deemed Teacher Prep Transformation Centers—will provide “direct, reciprocal support to member teacher preparation programs who are transforming practices,” the funding notice says. “It is a place where teacher preparation providers collectively problem solve, learn from one another, and develop evidence-based practices to share with the profession.”

Applications can come from school districts, nonprofits, a state agency, or a college or university. They will identify member programs on their own, or find interested parties through a database the foundation plans to create.

Applicants have to commit to Gates’ four principles for teacher preparation. To reiterate, the principles are: building teacher-candidate skill through hands-on practice, engaging in continuous improvement, ensuring their own teacher educators are effective, and collaborating with school systems serving high-need communities. Applicants also have to agree to use a set of common evaluation measures, pilot and scale solutions within each member institution, and share knowledge with the other funded centers.

The most notable feature of this approach is is that it’s a change from one-off grants to individual providers and institutions, the strategy the foundation has used up to this point for teacher preparation.

Applications are due June 12; finalists will be chosen in September. The foundation expects to award one to four awards of up to $7 million. Each would last three years.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.