GREAT Act Update

February 27, 2012

The movement to create a vibrant market for high-quality teacher training took another important step forward today. Due to vigorous championing by Representative Thomas Petri (R-WY), language to support states that want to create “GREAT” teacher and principal training academies has been added to the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act – the so-called “House teacher bill” for those of us wonks who live in Washington D.C. – introduced by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chair of the House Education & the Workforce committee. The House teacher bill is scheduled to be marked up and voted on by the committee tomorrow (2/28/2012).

The House version of GREAT closely parallels the language included in the Senate’s ESEA reauthorization bill that was approved by the Senate HELP Committee in October 2011. The House bill offers states the option of spending 3% to 7% of their Title II, Part B funds to support the creation of GREAT academies. These academies will be selective in who they admit; focus on clinical training (in lieu of academic theorizing); and, most importantly, tie graduation to improving student learning in the classroom. And, GREAT academies will be chartered by a “state authorizer” that will hold these programs accountable for meeting their goals. (For more background on the GREAT Act, click here.)

If you support innovation in teacher preparation, this is exciting news. Over the past 12 months, a broad bipartisan coalition has rallied around the core concept of the GREAT Act, namely, to invest federal dollars to support state-level changes to teacher preparation.  And though few expect ESEA to be reauthorized in 2012, both chambers of Congress have now sent a clear signal that the status quo in educator training is unacceptable, and it’s time for change. We here at NewSchools Venture Fund look forward to continuing to drive this effort, particularly as we look for a handful of states to be the true pioneers in revamping their training program. As always, if you’d like to join to ever-growing list of GREAT supporters (see below), please contact me at [email protected].

Supporters of GREAT Teacher and Principal Training Academies

50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now
Academy for Urban School Leadership
Achievement First
Aspire Public Schools
Baltimore City Public Schools
Black Alliance for Educational Options
Boston Plan for Excellence
Boston Teacher Residency
Brook Byers, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Business Roundtable
Capital Teaching Residency
Carlos A. Garcia, Superintendent, San Francisco Unified School District
Center for American Progress Action Fund
Chalkboard Project
Charlene Drew Jarvis, Senior Advisor, Jarvis Co.
Charter School Growth Fund
Chiefs for Change
Christopher J. Steinhauser, Superintendent, Long Beach Unified School District
Civic Builders
ConnCAN: Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now
David M. Steiner, Klara and Larry Silverstein Dean, School of Education, Hunter College, CUNY
DC Prep Public Charter School
Deborah Gist, Commissioner, Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Democrats for Education Reform
DSST Public Schools
E.L. Haynes Public Charter School
Education Equality Project
Education Pioneers
Educators 4 Excellence
FirstLine Schools
Green Dot Public Schools|
IDEA Public Schools
Jane Hannaway, Director, Education Policy Center, The Urban Institute
Jason Glass, State Director & Chief Learner, Iowa Department of Education
Jason Kamras, Chief, Office of Human Capital, District of Columbia Public Schools
Jean-Claude Brizard, Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools
Joel Klein, former Chancellor, New York City public schools; senior advisor, News Corporation
John Deasy, Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District
John White, Louisiana State Superintendent of Schools
Jonathan P. Raymond, Superintendent, Sacramento City Unified School District
Kate Gagnon, Editor, Jossey-Bass
Kenji Hakuta, Lee J. Jacks Professor of Education at Stanford University
Kevin Huffman, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Education
Kim Smith, Bellwether Education
Knowledge Is Power Program
Lance Fors, Chairman, New Teacher Center
Marcus P. Johnson, Superintendent, Sanger Unified School District
Mastery Public Schools
MATCH Charter Public High School
Michael E. Hansen, Superintendent, Fresno Unified School District
MinnCAN: The Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
National Center for Alternative Certification
National Center for Urban Education at the University of the District of Columbia
New Leaders for New Schools
New Schools for New Orleans
New Teacher Center
New Visions for Public Schools
NewSchools Venture Fund
Peter C. Gorman, former Superintendent, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Relay School of Education (formerly Teacher U)
RI-CAN: The Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now
Rocketship Education
School Leaders Network
Stand for Children
Steve Ward, Interim Superintendent, Clovis Unified School District
Students for Education Reform
Success Charter Network
Teach For America
The New Teacher Project
The Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago
The VIVA Project
Tom Payzant, Professor of Practice Harvard Graduate School of Education and former Superintendent of Boston Public Schools
Uncommon Schools
Urban Teacher Center
Urban Teacher Residency United
USC Rossier School of Education
YES Prep