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Professor Emeritus Lee Shulman wins noted education award

Lee S. Shulman, education professor emeritus and president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, has been awarded the 2006 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Education. Shulman received the $200,000 prize for his research into what makes someone a good teacher. In his 2004 book, The Wisdom of Practice: Essays on Teaching, Learning and Learning to Teach, Shulman argues that good teachers are critical to the success of people in every profession. "No microcomputer will replace them, no television system will clone them and distribute them, no scripted lessons will direct and control them, no voucher system will bypass them," he wrote. Although researchers play a valuable role in society, Shulman said, it is teachers who are responsible for making knowledge and skills understandable to others. To get the most from the nation's educational system, he argued, society needs to do a better job of preparing and assessing the performance of teachers at all levels and giving them the recognition they deserve.

Shulman was selected from 35 nominations for the Grawemeyer education prize. Last year's award went to Stanford's Elliot Eisner, the Lee L. Jacks Professor of Child Education, for his work in advocating an arts curriculum in schools. The Grawemeyer Foundation annually awards $1 million that is split evenly into five prizes for work in music composition, education, ideas improving world order, religion and psychology. The awards were founded by Charles Grawemeyer, an industrialist, entrepreneur and graduate of the University of Louisville, who wanted to reward powerful ideas or creative works in the sciences, arts and humanities.