Teacher Prep, Charter Schools Focus of GBPI 2014 Policy Conference

In the midst of fierce debates about ways to improve public education, there is consensus on one issue: Teachers who are caring and competent are an essential element of students’ academic success. Teachers change children’s lives, help them to thrive in school and succeed in the world beyond it. Becoming a teacher who can rise to that challenge requires rigorous preparation. Yet often people who want to teach are not well prepared by teacher training programs. They struggle in the classroom and many quickly leave the profession. Leaders of three innovative teacher preparation programs will describe their efforts to transform ways teachers are trained at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute’s 2014 Policy Conference on January 8th.

  • Jesse Solomon is Executive Director and founder of the Boston Teacher Residency. The organization prepares teachers through a year-long residency program, which places them in classrooms with master teachers. One of the first residency programs, it has become a national model.
  • Mari Koerner is Dean of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, which includes the largest undergraduate education program in the country. She has overseen significant changes to teacher preparation there, including an extension of teacher candidates’ time in the classroom and the ways they are assessed.
  • Gwen Benson is Associate Dean of School, Community and International Partnerships at the College of Education at Georgia State University. She also serves as principal investigator for the Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality, which is a collection of initiatives to better prepare teachers in high-demand subjects for high-need schools. The network includes a residency program for teacher candidates in science, technology, engineering or math.

There is far less consensus on charter schools than there is on the importance of competent, caring teachers. But they are now an established part of public education in Georgia and across the country. Panelists at GBPI’s conference will explore a variety of aspects of charter schools. Sarah Carr is author of Hope Against Hope, which examines two charter schools and one traditional public school in New Orleans. She will discuss opportunities for improvement that charters offer as well as some of their limitations. David Jernigan, executive director of KIPP Metro Atlanta, and Allen Mueller, Director of Innovation for Atlanta Public Schools, will describe their partnership to foster greater collaboration and learning between high-performing charters and traditional schools.

Register now to reserve your seat at these sessions and participate in a full day of compelling conversation about what’s possible for Georgia.


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