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FINAL REPORT TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE On the DEFENSE REINVESTMENT INITIATIVE THE DRI PROGRAM The results of the planning meeting led the NRC to respond positively to the DOD’s interest by submitting a proposal for a pilot project in LAUSD. The proposal addressed four perceived critical needs: the need for teacher preparation and credential programs that incorporate lessons learned from current education reform efforts, especially national education standards in science and mathematics; the need for ongoing collaborative relationships between colleges and universities and school districts in the area of teacher preparation and credentialing; the need for a large number of well-prepared science and mathematics teachers in inner city schools; and the need for an enlarged cadre of teachers of science and mathematics who can serve as leaders of education reform. The key objectives of the pilot program were to: create a new teacher credential program that prepares teachers to teach in ways called for by major education reform initiatives; give scientists, engineers, and mathematicians who are interested in teaching an opportunity to participate in the new program and become certified to teach science or mathematics in middle school or high school; place those well-prepared science and mathematics teachers in schools where science and mathematics education is in the greatest need of improvement and support and where there is recognition that change is needed; link experienced expert teachers with the newly prepared teachers to provide ongoing support for the new teachers; and monitor the new teachers and the master teachers over an extended period of time to assess their contributions to reform efforts in LAUSD. The site of the pilot program was LAUSD, in particular, schools in South Central Los Angeles. A list of the schools selected to participate is given in Appendix C. The site was selected because of the diversity of its student population and its proximity to military and industrial sites whose work force needs were changing. LAUSD is the second largest school district in the nation, representing 28 cities in Los Angeles County. Based on 1991-1992 figures7, 12.5 percent of all students enrolled in California public elementary and secondary schools attended schools in LAUSD. Of those, 65.1 percent were Hispanic, 14.6 percent were African-American, and 7.7 percent were other ethnic minorities. LAUSD had been selected as one of the cities eligible to compete for a NSF Urban Systemic Initiative (USI) and had a USI development team in place. Subsequently, LAUSD was awarded USI funding. 7 LAUSD Information, 1994.
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FINAL REPORT TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE On the DEFENSE REINVESTMENT INITIATIVE The guiding principles behind the construction of the DRI proposal were those found in the professional development standards in mathematics and the then draft standards for science that call for: teachers to learn teaching through experiences aligned with standards for students; a coherent program connecting knowledge of science and mathematics with pedagogy; and an understanding of the human development of children and youth. The initiative incorporated lessons learned from other programs that were designed for mid-career moves into teaching and added several key elements. These elements provided exposure to the teaching profession early in the program, strongly emphasized the role of expert teachers (called Cooperating Teachers), and recognized the importance of the school environment in which the participants were placed. The NRC selected CSULB as the education partner of the program because the California State University System is California’s largest system of teacher education and credentialing. The CSU System credentials 11 percent of the nations total teaching force.8 CSULB, in particular, had experience in second-career teacher certification programs, was reputed to maintain a close cooperation between the colleges of science and education, and had an excellent relationship with LAUSD and the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). Additional important elements of the DRI program follow. The DRIAB, CSULB faculty, and DRI staff worked closely with the CTC to ensure that the program met all requirements for the California teaching credential. Staff worked closely with LAUSD to ensure that teaching positions were available to the Fellows at the completion of the program. The program was designed to conform to the best practices identified by national education reform strategies. National standards were proposed to be the basis for teacher preparation and student learning, with a content-based pedagogy that was customized for the DRI Fellows. Active programs of observation, mentoring, coaching, reflection, and cooperative learning among participants were proposed in order to promote effective teaching and appropriate assessment of teaching and learning processes. The DRI Fellows were given adequate time to explore all of the career change issues they were about to make; for example, decisions about the grade level (middle or high school) at which they wished to teach, the realities of classroom management and teaching in an inner city school, expectations about salary and instructional materials, facilities, and human resources. The program intended to foster collaboration among the teachers; the participating university science and education faculty, and the university, schools, and school district involved. The program was to promote leadership development for the experienced teachers as well as the DRI Fellows. Financial support, a $22,000 stipend, was provided to the Fellows as they progressed through the first year of the program. 8 California State University Fact Sheet, California State University Chancellor’s Office.
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