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|Jindal unveils education grant in Monroe visit|
Twenty-one teachers across the state will spend one year training under top principals elsewhere so they can return to their school systems to train others to become principals and school leaders.
A $3.4-million grant from the Wallace Foundation will be used to pay each of the 21 teachers $71,000 over the year-long period.
Gov. Bobby Jindal was in Monroe Tuesday to announce the grant had become a reality and to discuss the teacher program the grant will fund this year.
"This is great news," said Jindal, who announced the grant at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He was joined by Commissioner of Higher Education Sally Clausen, ULM President James Cofer and Randy Moffett, president of the University of Louisiana System.
"It's unprecedented what you see happening in education in Louisiana," Jindal said. "The nation's best and largest foundations and companies are investing in education in Louisiana. They believe big things are happening here. They believe we can create national models that other states can work from. That's a great endorsement."
He said the grant will help improve the partnerships with kindergarten through 12th grade education and higher education throughout the state.
The 21 teachers were chosen by state education officials. They will serve in elementary and high schools as full-time educational/leadership residents. They also will enroll in a program to allow them to become certified principals.
Clausen said the teachers will make major changes in classrooms all over the state.
"Principals today have a totally different job than in the past," Clausen said. "The governor has challenged us to not be afraid of change, but to look at ways we can do things better."
"You school leaders have been tapped to step up to the plate to become teacher/leaders because you are outstanding teachers who know how to increase student achievement regardless of background or challenges students have today," Clausen continued. "You know all students can reach higher standards."
The $3.4 grant also will enhance the state's ability to recruit, train and keep qualified school principals, Jindal said.
"We know the key to strengthening our children's education is putting good teachers in every classroom," he said. "It's also critical that we support and recruit the next generation of dedicated leaders who support our teachers."
The state over the past three years has used funding from the Wallace Foundation to support a number of educational/leadership initiatives.
Improvements the state has made with Wallace Foundation funding resulted in Louisiana being recognized by the Southern Regional Education Board as the only state that has made progress in six key policy areas in the preparation of principals, Jindal said.
"So there you have Louisiana on the top of a good list, and not at the bottom of the list," he said.
The grant also will fund research to improve how the state places educational leaders in underperforming schools.