The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

December 3, 2009

MSU to get $6 million to train teachers

Part of $40 million to be divied among 14 colleges

MANKATO — Minnesota State University is set to receive more than $6 million as part of a Bush Foundation grant to improve teacher training and student learning in K-12 schools.

The overall grant — details of which were announced Thursday in St. Paul — totals $40 million and will be dispersed among 14 colleges and universities, four of which are included in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

The money will be used to develop programs to train student teachers. The programs will rely heavily on a team approach, mentoring and working together with school districts to fill the needs of colleges and their students as well as the needs of the districts.

As part of the agreement, the institutions will “guarantee the effectiveness of teachers who graduate from their redesigned programs.” The institutions plan to revamp recruitment efforts, in-class preparation, placement efforts and support for new teachers.

“Over nine months, these universities and colleges participated in a rigorous planning process during which they completed detailed proposals for redesigning their teacher-preparation programs,” Susan Heegaard, educational achievement team leader for the Bush Foundation, said in a written statement. “In each case, the universities are taking a bold, courageous stance in guaranteeing the effectiveness of the teachers they train.”

Students, instead of spending time observing master teachers in an elementary school classroom, will work in teams to act as partners with teachers, helping those teachers administer the curriculum the way the district sees fit.

“You’re not going to see people sitting in the back of the room watching,” said Mike Miller, dean of MSU’s College of Education. “You might see a classroom with the master teacher and a student teacher and two teacher education students, so you’ve got a team.”

The $6.3 million is supposed to fund 10 years of teacher training, although Miller said most of it will come to MSU in the first three to four years.

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