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Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Announces $1.5 Million to Support Educator-Preparation Programs Committed to Learning Science

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) today announced a $1.5 million grant to Deans for Impact to support the creation of the Learning by Scientific Design Network. This new national network will bring together college and university schools of education that want to work together to incorporate the science of learning into how they prepare future educators, so that these teachers and school leaders can in turn create powerful learning experiences for students.

“We know more today than ever before about how students learn, and educators deserve access to that knowledge from day one of their teaching careers,” said Sandra Liu Huang, head of education at CZI. “We are pleased to support the efforts of Deans for Impact to understand how educator-preparation programs can prepare future teachers to both understand learning science and apply it to their practice.”

Through a competitive application process, Deans for Impact will select five to seven institutions to participate in a two-year effort to transform their programs. Participants will assess how they are currently implementing the science of learning in their programs; collaborate with other network members to incorporate learning science into the experiences of teacher-candidates; and track the ability of newly prepared teachers to use the science of learning in their practice, and improve student learning as a result.

“How do students understand new ideas? How do they transfer their learning to new situations? What motivates them to learn? There are answers to these questions, informed by principles of learning science, and every future teacher should learn these principles – and how to apply them – as part of their preparation,” said Benjamin Riley, executive director and founder of Deans for Impact. “If we do that successfully, teachers should be able to design powerful learning experiences for their students that will help them flourish academically and in life.”

The grant reflects CZI’s larger commitment in education to support research, programs, and organizations that work to advance the understanding and science of how students learn and develop, so that teachers are equipped with the tools and research they need to help students enter adulthood with the skills and abilities needed to reach their full potential.

Deans for Impact works to ensure that every student is taught by a well-prepared teacher. The organization pursues this mission by connecting with leaders of educator-preparation programs who want to create rigorous experiences for every teacher-candidate they prepare; helping these leaders transform their programs; sustaining these transformations over time; and influencing the policies that affects their work. Since 2015, Deans for Impact’s footprint has grown from 18 “member deans” leading programs in 12 states to more than 200 leaders representing more than 80 institutions spanning 28 states and the District of Columbia, and collectively preparing 27,000 aspiring educators annually.


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