Institute for
Educational Inquiry

Center for
Educational Renewal

National Network for
Educational Renewal

Agenda for Education
in a Democracy

Agenda para la Educacion
en una Democracia

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Institute for Educational Inquiry
117 East Louisa Street #371
Seattle, WA 98102
Tel: (206) 325-3010

Center for Educational Renewal

The Center for Educational Renewal (CER) was founded in 1985 by John I. Goodlad, Kenneth A. Sirotnik, and Roger Soder to advance the simultaneous renewal of P-12 schools and the education of educators within the larger context of education in a democracy. The Center wais part of the Institute for the Study of Educational Policy within the College of Education, University of Washington, Seattle.

In 1992, John Goodlad created the Institute for Educational Inquiry, an independent, nonprofit corporation located in Seattle, Washington, to build on and advance the work of the Center. Today, the Institute carries on the work of advancing the Agenda for Education in a Democracy.

The simultaneous renewal agenda, as outlined in John Goodlad's Teachers for Our Nation's Schools and in his Educational Renewal: Better Teachers, Better Schools, is based on the assumption that we will not have better schools without better teachers, but we will not have better teachers without better schools in which teachers can learn, practice, and develop.

Two activities were necessary to launch work on the simultaneous renewal agenda, now known as the Agenda for Education in a Democracy. The first major activity involved establishing fundamental philosophical grounding on which to base the Agenda. Without grounding, without a sense of the ends of education and schooling, renewal efforts have nowhere in particular to go and will be subject merely to circumstances of the moment. From its inception, the Center has focused on the grounding questions, framing consideration of education and schooling in terms of the moral and political dimensions of teaching and learning in a democracy.

Thus, the first of the volumes stemming from the Center's national Study of the Education of Educators dealt with grounding issues. This volume, The Moral Dimensions of Teaching, edited by John Goodlad, Roger Soder, and Kenneth Sirotnik, was well received here and abroad, and is now in its fourth printing. Further work on the grounding was published in Access to Knowledge, edited by John Goodlad and Pamela Keating, as well as Teachers for Our Nation's Schools and Educational Renewal: Better Teachers, Better Schools.

In subsequent years, work on the grounding questions continued with the 1996 publication of Democracy, Education, and the Schools (edited by Roger Soder). That work was continued with The Public Purpose of Education and Schooling (edited by John Goodlad and Timothy McMannon), which is based on a symposium that involved chapter authors (Benjamin R. Barber, Linda Darling-Hammond, Gary D Fenstermacher, John I. Goodlad, Donna H. Kerr, Theodore H. Sizer, and Roger Soder) in a debate and discussion about the public and private purposes of schooling in a democracy. That work was further continued in John Goodlad's In Praise of Education, in which Goodlad argues that education is an inalienable right in a democratic society and that the purpose of education is to develop individual and collective democratic character. Please consult the Publications page for further details on obtaining these volumes and our other publications and videotapes.

The second major activity, begun simultaneously with the first, involved grounding of another sort—establishment of the institutional and social infrastructure necessary to house and support advancement of the simultaneous renewal agenda over time. Thus, while the research on teacher education was under way with the Study of the Education of Educators, we were creating a national network of a dozen school-university partnerships. Initially focused heavily on school renewal, the work turned to increased attention toward teacher education with the publication of Teachers for Our Nation's Schools.

At a national forum sponsored by the Exxon Education Foundation (now the ExxonMobil Foundation), Goodlad indicated that we would work with a limited number of settings (consisting of higher education institutions and local school districts) interested in furthering the agenda spelled out in Teachers. Some 300 institutions made initial inquiries, 50 proceeded with formal applications, and 8 settings were selected to form the core of a reconstituted National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER). Some of these became the original network and some were new to our work. In succeeding years, additional settings were accepted as members of the NNER. As of October 2007, the NNER consists of 24 settings in 20 states and 1 Canadian province, involving 42 colleges and universities, more than 100 school districts, and over 750 partner schools.

Work on the simultaneous renewal of schools and the education of educators has been guided by twenty postulates, the first nineteen developed early on at the Center as part of the Study of the Education of Educators and the twentieth added in September 2000. Work with the partner schools (sometimes referred to as professional development schools) has been guided by the principles delineated in the Partner School Compact.

The programs page provides further descriptions of our work with partner schools and our various curriculum development projects.

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