South Carolina awarded $45,000 reform grant from KnowledgeWorks Foundation

July 8, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – July 8, 2008 – The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) has awarded South Carolina a planning grant to help develop initiatives that transform teaching and learning for the future. 

The grant will support the creation of learning centers that will explore new ways of involving communities in teaching and learning and providing whole child support. West Virginia was the only other state to receive an award.

We can no longer be satisfied with incremental improvements to public education, said Superintendent of Education Jim Rex.  In South Carolina, we must take bold steps, be innovative, and challenge the status quo.  This grant will help us do that.
South Carolina’s Inside-Out Learning Center will serve as an incubator in developing new ways of educating the state’s children.
The concept integrates team teaching, looping, community schooling, and other innovative approaches that are all focused on improving student achievement and school performance.
I applaud these states for their vision to create an education system that prepares all of our children for the uncertainties and possibilities of the emerging world, said Richard W. Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education and a NCTAF co-chair. And I applaud KnowledgeWorks Foundation for their support of this work.  We need leaders like these who can guide change for American public education.

South Carolina and West Virginia are part of a larger initiative that includes five NCTAF partner states working on ways to transform education and respond to the demands of the knowledge era.
Van Dempsey, Dean of Education at Fairmont State University, a partner in West Virginia’s initiative, underscored the importance of community engagement in learning.  In this changing world, learning is a lifelong process, said Dempsey.  We will be building new connectors between communities and their schools so that education can work for all.

As West Virginia moves forward with the 21st Century Learning initiative, it is evident that new ways of envisioning schools, the professional roles of teachers, and connections to the community are at the center of our future success, said Steven L. Paine, the West Virginia Superintendent of Schools.

The five state coalitions – from Hawaii, Georgia, New Jersey, South Carolina and West Virginia -were challenged to redefine both the education system and the teaching profession. Using the Map of Future Forces Affecting Education developed by KnowledgeWorks Foundation with the Institute for the Future, NCTAF and KnowledgeWorks Foundation helped guide the states through a year-long process to identify challenges and opportunities.

The Map of Future Forces forecasts trends that will influence public education over the next decade. By using the Map, state education leaders extended their visions for reshaping teacher preparation, reimagining teaching roles, and transforming schools into genuine learning organizations.

Recognizing that continued collaboration and communication across states can add an important dimension to this work, KnowledgeWorks Foundation is also providing NCTAF with a stipend to facilitate the sharing of ideas across these states via a series of learning experiences to be scheduled for the coming year. 

The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, DC.
NCTAF is dedicated to providing every child with competent, caring, qualified teaching in schools organized for success.  With a network of
25 partner states and links to professional educational organizations across the nation , NCTAF provides leadership on innovation and improvement in teaching and learning in America’s schools.  For more information, visit NCTAF’s website:
KnowledgeWorks Foundation is an Ohio-based education philanthropy committed to solving national education problems innovatively and with others.  For more information, visit the Foundation website at