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Elite Company

This summer another elite brigade of recent college graduates will set out to fix America's public schools. The 3,000 optimistic overachievers will constitute the largest-ever corps to join Teach for America, a 17-year-old program that sends twenty somethings to teach in underserved urban and rural schools. All have pledged to give their heart and soul to teaching — for two years, anyway.

In 2003 the organization formed a "research advisory board" of five experts in the field, including Susan H. Fuhrman, president of Columbia University Teachers College, and Susan Moore Johnson, a professor of teaching and learning at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. "We don't meet very frequently, but when they have an issue, they call on us," Ms. Fuhrman says.

The organization has asked the advisory board how best to research its teachers' effectiveness, how to recruit better teachers, and how to improve their training. "We've advised them on how to be reflective," says Ms. Fuhrman, "how to gather evidence about their procedures so they can make improvements as they go along."

This article appeared in the June 21, 2007 edition of the Chronicle of Higher of Education.

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