Teacher education is often regarded as a “black hole” by funders interested in K–12 education, and many of them—having given up hope of reforming the way teachers are prepared—are choosing to work directly with K–12 schools and districts instead. Yet persuasive evidence exists that teacher quality matters; that teachers have discernible, differential effects on student achievement; and that these teacher effects appear to persist across years. The Carnegie Corporation of New York decided to meet the challenge of reforming teacher education head-on and launched an ambitious reform initiative, Teachers for a New Era (TNE), in the summer of 2001. The aim of this initiative is to stimulate construction of excellent teacher education programs that are guided by a respect for evidence, are based on close collaboration between education and arts and sciences faculty, and integrate classroom experinces fully into the curriculum. Four institutions—Bank Street College of Education; California State University, Northridge; Michigan State University; and the University of Virginia—were selected in the summer of 2002 as the first TNE sites; they are to receive $1 million for each of five years and substantial technical assistance to reform their teacher education programs to align with the TNE design principles.
The Carnegie Corporation involved a number of other foundations in its selection process, and representatives from these foundations participated in the deliberations. Two—the Annenberg Foundation and the Ford Foundation—decided to join the initiative and provide funds to allow a larger number of institutions to be selected to participate in TNE. The Rockefeller Foundation, which had also participated in the process, decided to fund a national evaluation of the initiative to document how the initiative unfolds and assess whether the reform has an impact in changing the way teachers are prepared and on the effectiveness of teacher graduates. The Rockefeller Foundation asked the RAND Corporation and the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) to undertake such a national evaluation and provided funding for eighteen months (December 2002–May 2004). This technical report documents our work during this first phase and describes the first year of the TNE reform as it played out in the four sites. The main body of the report provides an overview of the progress the sites made in the first year and some early lessons learned from a cross-site analysis. Appendixes A–D provide details on each institution, including a profile of the four institutions at baseline (prior to the start of the initiative), a summary of the design proposals developed by each of the institutions to carry out the reform, and detailed notes on . . .