The Bush Foundation is investing $40 million in a 10-year effort to improve teacher preparation at 14 colleges in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
The schools taking part say they'll aggressively recruit the best and brightest students for their programs. They will work more closely with the K-12 system to help place teachers in schools that fit their abilities, and they will better track their graduates' performance to guarantee new teachers are effective.
Bush Foundation President Peter Hutchinson says the schools will need to offer their students more time as student teachers.
"Focus on in-classroom practical [education], more like medical education in that sense. Beginning instantaneously in contact with students."
Hutchinson says the schools will also need to provide better support for young teachers as they enter the workforce.
"From really not doing very much at all in terms support in those first few years, to very intensive support over a two or three -- sometimes a five-year period," said Hutchinson. "From a university point of view, these are very dramatic changes."
The goal of the program is to prepare 25,000 new teachers before 2020, which is how many new teachers the Bush Foundation estimates the three states will need in the next decade.
The 14 institutions taking part in the partnership are:
- Augsburg College, Minneapolis
- Bethel University, St. Paul
- Concordia University, St. Paul
- Hamline University, St. Paul
- Minnesota State University Mankato
- University of Minnesota
- Minnesota State University Moorhead
- North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D.
- St. Catherine University, St. Paul
- St. Cloud State University
- University of St. Thomas, St. Paul
- University of South Dakota, Vermillion, S.D.
- Valley City State University, North Dakota
- Winona State University