Research shows that children develop best when they feel connected to, and are engaged in, their educational and emotional growth. This occurs when children are treated as individuals, learn that their voices matter and are involved in their learning. When teaching and learning are personalized by them, the stage is set for their ownership of their education.
The Foundation believes that there is a considerable body of research that shows learning can be improved. This includes treating students as individuals and involving them in their learning which often involves moving from a teacher-centered model to a student-centered one. It may involve greater use of technology and, where appropriate, more structured approaches. The Foundation’s goal is to create an environment where a student’s needs are matched with the educational community’s resources.
This may involve supporting pilot programs to show what works and how it works, providing staff development to implement programs, providing resources to parents, promoting environments for learning, and higher education programs to provide new teachers with appropriate skills.
The Foundation has come to realize that there are many natural obstacles to implementing best practices in classrooms and schools. Inadequate training, insufficient time, limited resources, human nature and the institutional nature of bureaucracies can all conspire against what everyone wants, what everyone believes can be achieved.
National politics are the latest roadblock to improvements in learning. Tying student performance to teacher evaluations as an outcome of acceptance of the Common Core State Standards by some 47 states and the lure of charter schools have taken center stage in a battle for control, while students wait for an outcome that will benefit them.
The Tietz Family Foundation recognizes these obstacles and is dedicated to working with and through them to implement strategies that work for children.