The Chalkboard Project has funded five projects at $36,000 each around Oregon to improve teacher preparation and recruitment, especially minority teacher recruitment. Each project seeks to improve the collaboration between higher education institutions and local schools district. From the Oregonian article “Chalkboard Project awards $180,000 in teacher preparation and recruitment grants to Oregon districts” by Nicole Dungca (here):
…. Chalkboard President Sue Hildick said looking at teacher preparation was an easy move for the non-partisan organization, which works to improve K-12 education in the state. The group has recently worked extensively with districts to look into teacher-centered issues, such as new compensation models and professional development.
"We've been looking at career models that are compelling and attractive to potential teachers, so it makes sense to look back earlier in the process," Hildick said.
Chalkboard spokeswoman Aimee Craig said districts have been eager to impact who will be coming into their classrooms in the future and the process behind it.
"What we've heard from districts is that there isn't great collaboration between school districts and university partners," she said.
That is one of the issues that can help fuel the growing percentage gap between Oregon's minority students and teachers, which reflects a nationwide trend.
About 41 percent of American students are minorities, but about 17 percent of teachers across the nation come from minority groups, according to data from a staffing survey from 2007-08. In Oregon, about 34 percent of students are minorities, while eight percent of teachers are…..
From my perspective, most of the Schools of Education in Oregon are useless and should be closed (until they change). They provide no leadership and little training on the two big megatrends that should be reshaping education: globalization (stronger foreign language programs: immersion and high school study abroad programs) and digitalization (using the technology of computers, telephones, the internet and online education).
I’m all for more minority teachers, but it’s not a high priority. The high priority collaboration needed with higher education is the training of the next generation of foreign language immersion teachers. Many, if not most, of our future teachers need to be bilingual, and not just in Spanish. Like Utah, Oregon should be expanding foreign language immersion programs in languages critical to our economic future like Mandarin, Japanese, Hindi, Indonesian, Russian, and Brazilian Portuguese. We need trained teachers, fluent in these languages, and we need them soon. This is the education reform we need. Neither Chalkboard nor the universities are doing anything to help.