In contacting Members of Congress to support the Teachers Institutes bill, S. 3498 and H.R. 5556, introduced in the 111th Congress by Senators Christopher Dodd and Joseph Lieberman and Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Joe Courtney, consider the following arguments in favor of this legislation.
This bipartisan measure would help implement the Obama Administrationís emphasis on increasing teacher effectiveness by providing colleges and universities and school districts the resources necessary to establish Teachers Institutes in most states. Teachers Institutes increase teacher quality and the number of effective teachers in high-need schools by attracting, developing, and retaining effective teachers in the schools that need them most.
Teachers Institutes are university-school partnerships that involve faculty members in the arts and sciences in an intensive, sustained, and systematic way to increase teachersí knowledge of their subjects and to assist them in developing strategies effectively to teach their own students what they have learned. The innovative Teachers Institute approach addresses the largely unmet need for such partnerships that help public school teachers to engage and educate their students in core academic subjects in the sciences and the humanities in high-need schools.
More specifically, evaluations have established that:
- Teachers Institutes enhance those teacher qualities known to increase teacher effectiveness and student achievement.
- Teachers Institutes that follow the approach developed in New Haven and implemented in Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, contain all the crucial elements of high-quality teacher professional development.
- Participation in Teachers Institutes of this type is strongly correlated with teacher retention in high-poverty schools.
- Teachers Institutes are a proven way of engaging universitiesí sciences and humanities faculty in strengthening the effectiveness of teachers in their subjects.
- The Institute approach differs both from the types of continuing education Schools of Education offer and from the staff development school districts provide.
- Funds to spread the Teachers Institute approach nationwide are therefore an investment in innovation and reform, not a continuation of ineffectual conventional professional development practices.
- This approach is based on evidence from more than 30 years of operation in New Haven and successful implementation in larger cities.
Chief State School Officers and school district superintendents attest to the ways that Institutes support state and local school reform plans. This legislation would enable many more state and local education agencies to learn from Institute experience about the efficacy of this tested approach for reforming their policies and practices for teacher professional development.
For background, review the recognition the Teachers Institute approach has received over the past 30 years, as well as the earlier calls that have been made to enact similar legislation.
Communicate with Members of Congress and their legislative assistants for education by fax number, which may be found by entering your ZIP code at congressmerge.com/onlinedb/index.htm. Please send copies of any communications with Members of Congress to the Yale National Initiative.