Friday, May 25, 2012

The NEA Foundation Expands Work on Education Reform Through Union-District Collaboration

New Grant Helps Build on Success

WASHINGTON, DC (May 25, 2012) -- The NEA Foundation today announced that it will expand its ongoing work to document and share  successful strategies being used by collaborative union-district teams to contribute to improved student performance, thanks to a $550,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The announcement comes on the heels of the US Department of Education’s Labor-Management conference, “Collaborating to Transform the Teaching Profession,” that brought together hundreds of leaders in the national education reform movement to discuss ways for unions and districts to better work together to improve student learning.

“For many years, the NEA Foundation has provided philanthropic and technical assistance to support the critical joint work of union district teams to make their districts and schools better places for students to learn and teachers to teach,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “Support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help us accelerate the sea change underway in the way unions and districts work together to ensure high quality teaching and seed change by leveraging resources and widely disseminating knowledge.”

“The only way for meaningful reform to take root is with teachers and their unions fully engaged as partners. We appreciate that the Gates Foundation understands that, and supports this effort,” said Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association. “It is exactly this type of collaboration that allows all of us to look our students in the eyes and assure them that they’re at the center of our reform efforts.” 

The work will leverage the expertise developed from the NEA Foundation’s Closing the Achievement Gaps Initiative (beginning in 2004) and Institute for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (funded by a $358,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2009), across 10 school districts.

Together, these teams of union, district, and community leaders are building enduring infrastructures and systems that are tackling head-on issues of increased teaching effectiveness through school-based collaborative leadership teams focused on issues of teaching and learning and teacher evaluation systems and professional growth models.

The new grant will fund the development of case studies that illustrate successful union-district collaborative practices, identify lessons learned, and provide operational tools that will help other communities begin this work. Funding will also help accelerate the development of the NEA Foundation’s collaborative, skill-based curriculum to build the capacity of local leaders to engage in jointly designed reform. This online curriculum is slated for a Fall 2012 launch.

Learn more about the NEA Foundation’s Closing the Achievement Gaps Initiative and its Institute for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.

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About The NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation is a public charity supported by contributions from educators' dues, corporate sponsors, and others who support public education initiatives.We partner with education unions, districts, and communities to create powerful, sustainable improvements in teaching and learning. Visit for more information. Find us on Facebook and Twitter, and visit our blog.

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