A National Advisory Committee, composed of Americans distinguished in the fields of education, private philanthropy, and public policy, assists the Teachers Institute with the dissemination, evaluation, and development of both the program in New Haven and the National Demonstration Project. New members are invited to serve, from time to time, by the President of Yale University. In advance of National Advisory Committee meetings, members of the University Advisory Council and the Steering Committee meet separately and together to discuss program development and evaluation, national dissemination, and finance. On each of these and any other timely topics they prepare papers that are circulated to brief the Committee before the meetings.
As the Teachers Institute plays a leading role in the national movement for university-school partnerships the National Advisory Committee assists in determining how to make the most effective contribution to institutions and schools in other communities. The Committee provides a variety of perspectives that aid in examining what each constituency for such partnerships would regard as the best evidence of their effectiveness.
The Committee last met on November 28, 2000, in conjunction with a meeting with President Levin of the presidents and superintendents (or their delegates) from the sites participating in the National Demonstration Project. Meeting separately at first, the Committee and the presidents and superintendents (and their delegates) considered the accomplishments thus far of the National Demonstration Project and a more ambitious draft Proposal for a second phase of replications of the Teachers Institute over the next ten years to be established through the agency of a national association of Teachers Institutes. The two groups then met jointly to share their comments on these topics. The National Advisory Committee continued its deliberation concerning the draft Proposal.
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National Advisory Committee meeting with university and school officials from the demonstration sites, November 2000. (Clockwise from left: Ilene Mack, Ted Estess, Michael Clark, Richard C. Levin, Sabatino Sofia, Robert Schwartz, Linda Kaminski, Charles Warner, Reginald Mayo, Verdell M. Roberts, Barbara Lazarus, Olivia Dixon, Gordon M. Ambach, Rogers M. Smith, Director James R. Vivian, Richard Ekman, and Sam Lasseter.)
Those in attendance had great interest in the draft Proposal. They were convinced of the value of working together on a national scale and looked forward to an expansion of the group of Teachers Institutes. Several members of the committee spoke of the timeliness of this proposal and the boldness of its vision. Superintendents and their delegates, including Superintendent John Thompson from Pittsburgh and Superintendent Rod Paige from Houston (now U. S. Secretary of Education), looked forward to expansion of the work in their cities and collaboration with other Institutes on a national scale.
Members of the National Advisory Committee offered suggestions about the kinds of preliminary work that should probably be carried out before launching upon this ambitious plan. They suggested that more research be done on the actual accomplishments of the Institutes now in existence. They suggested also that we consider more fully what has been learned in New Haven about the best strategies for implementing the process of establishing new Institutes. They also anticipated that it would be necessary in one or more ways to demonstrate the direct or indirect results of the Institutes with regard to increases in student learning. They were also clear that such a proposal must indicate how it will have systemic influence on education in this country. One might begin, they suggested, by dealing now with the question of the systemic influence at each demonstration site. The issue, as Superintendent Rod Paige said, is not just a numerical scaling up in a larger city; it is rather finding ways to have a systemic effect that goes beyond the small numbers of seminars that can be fielded at this time.
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National Advisory Committee meeting with university and school officials from the demonstration sites, November 2000. (Left to right: Esther L. Barazzone, Theodore R. Sizer, Ilene Mack, and Ted Estess.)
It was strongly suggested, therefore, that the Proposal be modified to include a two-year preparation phase, during which the participating Teachers Institutes would engage in a process of consolidation, intensification, and preparation. The new Institutes would do research on their effectiveness and investigate how to have significant systemic effects. At the same time, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute would engage in similar research into its own accomplishments, would reflect on what it has learned during the National Demonstration Project, and would gear up for work on the next major effort.
As we have indicated above, under “The University Advisory Council,” and as we shall develop more fully under “The Continuing National Initiative,” this draft Proposal was therefore modified to include the preparation phase that the National Advisory Committee had recommended.
There was no meeting of the National Advisory Committee during 2001.
The National Advisory Committee assists in determining how to make the most effective contribution to institutions and schools in other communities.
They were convinced of the value of working together on a national scale and looked forward to an expansion of the group of Teachers Institutes.