U Minnesota Grant To Boost Teacher Prep Programs

The University of Minnesota has been given a commitment of up to $4.5 million from the Bush Foundation to help restructure its College of Education and Human Development teacher preparation programs.

The restructuring, dubbed the Teachers Education Redesign Initiative, will focus on preparing prospective educators to increase graduation rates and reduce disparities in student achievement for k-12 schools.

"Ensuring that our schools have the best teachers in the country is critical to meeting the region's employment needs going forward," said University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks in a prepared statement. "In order to be competitive in the global economy, all students need to graduate from high school prepared for some form of post-secondary education. I am very excited that the University of Minnesota will play a strong role in revamping the teacher education curriculum to improve teaching and learning--for all students--throughout the state and region."

Provisions of the initiative included a focused effort on recruiting more diversified undergraduates and changes to the curriculum to prepare educators to work with special education students and English language learners.

Other provisions included developing prospective educators' cultural competencies and teaching them to work with families and their communities.

The university said it plans to launch the restructured program in summer of 2011.

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Dan Thompson is a freelance writer based in Brea, CA. He can be reached here.