New U.S. Department of Education Strategy for Teacher Prep Reflects Woodrow Wilson Model

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FOR RELEASE: September 30, 2011

CONTACT: Beverly Sanford   |   Vice President for Communications   |   (609) 945-7885


Emphasis on stronger teacher preparation, top candidates, university reform, diversity demonstrated by WW Teaching Fellowships in three states

PRINCETON, N.J.—Ambitious recommendations for teacher preparation released today by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan mirror the ongoing work of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, now operating in three states.

Secretary Duncan’s recommendations call for state-level approaches, state-level accountability, recruitment incentives for top teacher candidates, support to institutions of higher education willing to transform their teacher preparation programs, and increased diversity among new teachers.

“It’s exciting to hear this model touted as a national strategy,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. “The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship is already recruiting high-caliber scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to prepare as teachers in innovative programs. The participating universities are all working hard to rethink teacher preparation—a condition of their receiving these Fellows. The Fellows themselves commit to teaching in high-need schools, and as many as a third of them are from underrepresented groups.

“So we’re pleased to see a state-based STEM approach to improving education schools and teaching that relies upon fellowships for top students and measures program success in terms of student outcomes. We wholeheartedly applaud the Secretary’s initiative and are proud to play a part in this national effort.”

The Woodrow Wilson Foundation has committed to prepare more than 1,000 STEM teachers over the next five years through its Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships. These Fellowships recruit accomplished career changers and outstanding recent college graduates in STEM fields who will prepare for math and science teaching positions in their state’s urban and rural schools.

Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows receive $30,000 to use during a year of master’s-level teacher preparation at a designated university. In exchange, they commit to teach in a high-need urban or rural school for three years, with ongoing mentoring. At present, 17 universities in three states—Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio—are participating, with more than 600 Fellowships committed. Of these, nearly 350 Fellows are already in classrooms or preparing to teach. Another three states are already in discussion with the Foundation to create similar programs.

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Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation identifies and develops America’s best minds for its most essential professions. The Foundation has supported and encouraged more than 21,000 future leaders at critical points early in their careers in education, the arts, business, government, and many other fields. Fellows include 13 Nobel Prize winners, 11 Pulitzer Prize winners, 35 MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Award” recipients, two Fields Medalists, and thousands of other noted leaders.


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