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Social, economic, and political trends directly impact the possible roles of American teachers in winning grants for classrooms and schools. This post identifies several trends and roles teachers can and do play as incubators and planners of proposals, as implementers of funded projects, and as evaluators of project outcomes. Such roles are not yet universal, but they are frequent.


Background Trends:

  1. Public schools, as workplaces, are ever more labor-intensive and capital-intensive.
  2. Demographic shifts are eroding traditional bases of support for public schools.
  3. Public willingness to pay ever-higher taxes to support public education is declining.
  4. Doctrines of continuous improvement compel adoption of effective (or best) practices.
  5. Standards-based educational accountability perpetuates calls for systemic reform.


Proposal Incubators:

  1. Many teachers seek to improve results of teaching and learning.
  2. Often teachers seize the initiative in embracing change in their classrooms.
  3. Many teachers pursue their pedagogical enthusiasms with passion and creativity.
  4. Often teachers seek and do what works best for learners.
  5. Many teachers serve as critical vectors for continuous school reform.
  6. Often teachers care about the children they are charged to teach.


Proposal Planners:

  1. Adults learn better by doing, applying, and practicing what they learn.
  2. Those asked to do the work of educational reform need to have a hand in shaping it.
  3. Adults resist change less when they own a problem and its solution.
  4. Schools are communities in microcosm, as well as workplaces and social institutions.
  5. Active participation in decision-making is critical to democratic self-government.
  6. Policies of shared decision-making compel input from school-based staff.


Implementers of Funded Projects:

  1. Many teachers test and refine new, research-based instructional practices.
  2. Often teachers develop and use integrated, thematic curricular materials.
  3. Teachers often design, pilot, and use new authentic assessments.
  4. Teachers often design and use collaborative and inclusive learning spaces.
  5. Often teachers set priorities for site-specific professional development.
  6. Many teachers engage in continual, reflective self-development.
  7. Teachers often collaborate as members of teams of change agents.
  8. Many teachers incorporate community resources in their classrooms.


Evaluators of Outcomes:

  1. Assessment often uses both criterion-based and norm-based measures.
  2. Assessment often reflects stages in child development as well as universal academic standards.
  3. Many teachers are encouraged to act more as guides on the side, rather than always as sages. on the stage
  4. Reflective self-assessment is integral to life-long learning as professional teachers.

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