Volume 7 Issue 1

Maximizing the Opportunity Provided by ‘Race to the Top’

By Theodore Hershberg and Claire Robertson-Kraft, University of Pennsylvania

Background and Context

Education policy makers have long searched for a system that will recognize and reward outstanding practice, support educators to improve their performance, and, most importantly, increase student achievement. But we are now are at a watershed moment in public education where a Democratic president has challenged the educational status quo. For states and school districts to secure grants from the $4.35 billion Race to the Top (RTTT) Fund, President Barack Obama is requiring them to “use data effectively to reward effective teachers, to support teachers who are struggling, and when necessary, to replace teachers who aren’t up to the job” (White House, 2009).

New Goals, Familiar Challenges?: A Brief History of University-Run Schools

By Maia Cucchiara, Temple University

In fall 2001, the University of Pennsylvania opened a public elementary school a few blocks away from its West Philadelphia campus. With the opening of this school, Penn joined the list of colleges and universities that have recently gone into the business of operating elementary or secondary schools.1 In each situation, the university role differs somewhat—for example, Penn is working in partnership with the teachers union and school district, while the University of Chicago and several other universities actually run their own charter schools—but in every case the university is assuming a responsibility that has traditionally been outside of its sphere. Indeed, the founding of many of these schools was at least partly informed by a larger development in higher education: the emergence of a heightened commitment to civic and community engagement on the part of major research universities.

Preparing Teachers for Urban Schools: Evaluation of a CommunityBased Model

By Susan Catapano, University of North Carolina-Wilmington; and Sarah Huisman, Fontbonne University

Can a teacher education program committed to the surrounding community help prepare preservice teachers to work in the most challenging urban schools? Preservice teachers spend significant time in schools, observing, tutoring children, and learning to teach. On-site field experiences introduce aspiring teachers to life in schools, and are especially important for teachers who take their first teaching positions in urban schools (Adams, Bondy, & Kuhel, 2005).

The Measure of Our Success

By Kami M. Patrizio, Towson University

Being in Barbara’s1 office reminded me of being in my Grandmother’s kitchen. It was pleasant, small and warm. There was enough room for three people to sit comfortably, four if someone squeezed into the seat at the computer behind Barbara’s desk. Every surface had files, pictures, or office equipment on it. For some reason, which I ascribed to Barbara’s general ethos of clearheaded calm, it never felt crowded. “The delivery man wanted to leave the new stove outside.