of learning by students. First, the professional community’s level of effort, commitment, and input in a school can have significant effects on student achievement. Support from the larger community in which a school is located also can make a critical difference in the success of teachers and their students. This larger community includes the policymakers, superintendents, district administrators, teacher unions, faculty and administrators from local colleges and universities, individual school staff, and other members of the community, such as leaders of local businesses and industry. It also includes scientists and mathematicians outside of academe, who can bring their understanding and everyday applications of science and mathematics concepts and skills to K-12 teaching and learning improvement. When these institutions work together as a whole, make decisions that are supportive and collegial, and invest the time and money that it takes to make a concrete impact on education, teachers are afforded the opportunity to greatly enhance their teaching practice.
Second, this enhancement in teaching practice, in turn, appears to influence positively the scholastic achievement of students and their attitudes towards learning. In schools where teachers reported higher levels of collective responsibility for student learning, learning was greater in science, mathematics, reading, and history (Newmann and Wehlage, 1995).
Third, the comprehensive approach to teacher education appears to be promising. Professional Development Schools and similar collaborative programs attempt to address teacher preparation, professional development, and student learning holistically. They encourage teacher educators and prospective teachers to see themselves as students of learning as well as students of teaching. Research suggests that teachers who develop this level of professionalism are better able to respond to the constant and fluctuating demands of their jobs. McCullough and Mintz (1992), Lampert and Ball (1998), and McIntyre et al. (1996) all have pointed to the need for preservice preparation that encourages reflective practice. For example, McIntyre et al. (1996) concluded, “Student teachers within this framework view teaching as ongoing decision-making rather than as a product or recipe. These student teachers learn that significant education must present learners with relevant problematic situations in which the learner can manipulate objects to see what happens, to question what is already known, to compare their findings and assumptions with those of others, and to search for their own answers.”
In summary, the committee has concluded that the collaborative and