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Press Release:

Groundbreaking Campaign to Invest in the Nation’s Teachers Receives Grant from the Ford Foundation
Will support nationwide Survey on Teacher Retention and Documentary film featuring Actress Cynthia Nixon

New York—September 09, 2008—Teachers Network has just been awarded a $225,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to help make the case that our nation’s top education priority should be investing in our teachers.

The purpose of the grant is to raise public awareness that experience counts—and to provide evidence about what is needed to keep good teachers teaching and growing.  The grant will also seek to provide leverage for policymakers to include the teacher’s voice in decision-making to ensure that policy at all levels—local, state, and national—is in sync with what experienced teachers know is best for students.  

Research indicates that the most significant factor in a child’s education is the quality of the classroom teacher. According to Fred Frelow, Program Officer at Ford Foundation, “Teachers Network is poised to play a pivotal role in helping the public understand how critical good teachers are to the future of the nation’s public education.”

The grant will support a multi-layered research study directly assessing teachers’ own reasons for staying or leaving the classroom.  The two categories of research questions will ask:  Why do teachers stay in the classroom?  How does this relate to quality education?  Surveys and interviews will be conducted throughout the country with 1,500 teacher leaders who have participated in the Teachers Network Leadership Institute (TNLI) nationwide since its inception in 1995.  The findings and recommendations will furnish the larger educational community with critical information about what works and what doesn’t work to effect teacher retention, provide for successful professional development, and meet the overall needs of our nation’s teachers.

The study, to be conducted in conjunction with New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, will include a series of video interviews with teachers from around the country.  Under the direction of Emmy award-winning producer Carole Rosen, with narration by actress Cynthia Nixon, the short documentary will capture teachers’ stories about what educators need to keep them motivated to remain in the teaching profession and will be an investigative look at what skills and support teachers need to be successful as well as what role the community plays in the process. 

As Ellen Dempsey, President and CEO of Teachers Network, explains, “Since it’s inception, Teachers Network has focused on improving student achievement by designing and providing professional development programs and resources that support the long term retention of experienced, creative, and talented teachers.  With the help of Ford Foundation, we are another step closer to realizing this goal.”

About Teachers Network

About Teachers Network

TNLI is a major initiative of Teachers Network, comprising of 13 affiliates nationwide—and hundreds of teacher leaders—in such locations as Chicago, IL; Fairfax County, VA; Gainesville and Miami, FL; Milwaukee, WI; New York City; Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Barbara County, CA; the States of Delaware, Kentucky, and Wyoming. Directed by Ellen Meyers, TNLI is a partnership with New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.  Major funding for TNLI is provided by MetLife Foundation, with additional support from New York Community Trust, the Rodel Foundation, Spencer Foundation, and a broad spectrum of local foundations, education funds, universities, state departments of education, county education offices, and school districts across the nation.  http://teachersnetwork.org/tnli  

Teachers Network is a non-profit organization—by teachers, for teachers—with a 27-year track record of success, dedicated to improving student learning in public schools nationally and internationally.  Teachers Network is unique in its focus on professional development as the key to improving student achievement.  Using the power of an award-winning web site, videos, and print resources, Teachers Network leverages the creativity and expertise of a national and international community of outstanding educators.  Through its leadership, Teachers Network empowers teachers to transform public schools into creative learning communities.  http://teachersnetwork.org


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