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Linda Darling-Hammond receives 2022 Yidan Prize

Darling-Hammond, professor emeritus at Stanford Graduate School of Education, was named a recipient of the world’s largest award in education.

This story was adapted from a press release issued by the Yidan Prize Foundation.

Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor emeritus at Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE), has been awarded the 2022 Yidan Prize for education research.

Linda Darling-Hammond (Image credit: Rod Searcey)

Now president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), a nonprofit focused on education research, Darling-Hammond is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, where she launched the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and worked with colleagues to redesign the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP).

The award recognizes Darling-Hammond’s work in shaping education policy and practice around the most equitable and effective ways to teach and learn. Her research reveals the diverse ways that children learn and how best to teach them, feeding those insights into robust educator development programs.

The Yidan Prize was founded by Charles Chen Yidan, a philanthropist and core founder of Tencent, a technology company. Each year, the Yidan Prize Foundation awards two prizes: one in education research and another in education development.

Alongside Darling-Hammond, Yongxin Zhu, founder of the New Education Initiative (NEI) and professor at the Soochow University School of Education, was awarded the 2022 prize for education development. The prize recipients were announced at the 2022 Stanford Accelerator for Learning summit on Sept. 28.

Darling-Hammond and Zhu “play an important role in empowering our teachers and youth with the skills needed to thrive in the 21st century,” said Edward Ma, secretary-general of the Yidan Prize Foundation. “Their work clearly shows the transformative impact that teachers can have on learners. And when students have great teachers, they have great opportunities.”

Sparking scalable change in education

Darling-Hammond has spent decades studying teacher education programs and practices and is widely considered one of the most important voices in the field. She currently serves as president of the California State Board of Education and led President Joe Biden’s education policy transition team in 2020.

The Yidan Prize is the world’s largest prize in education. Darling-Hammond will receive approximately $4 million in recognition of her work.

With the Yidan Prize funds, Darling-Hammond will scale up her critical work at the Educator Preparation Laboratory (EdPrepLab), a network focused on supporting student-centered, equity-focused teacher preparation programs grounded in the science of learning and development.

She will expand the reach of EdPrepLab, adding new programs, investing in new research about effective programs, and creating a space where educators, researchers, and policymakers can easily share and learn from each other.

“Linda has spent her life building research tools that support policy and practice to create better and fairer educational opportunities,” said Andreas Schleicher, head of the Yidan Prize for Education Research judging panel and director for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Directorate of Education and Skills. “Her influence on public policy has helped policy architects shape positive changes for children on a large scale.”

Zhu, who was recognized for his work in improving teaching quality and transforming learning outcomes in China, plans to use the Yidan Prize funds to expand NEI’s reach in remote, rural areas in China and develop a cloud-based learning hub.

“The Yidan Prize champions the most innovative ideas in education and helps scale them so as many people as possible can benefit,” said Koichiro Matsuura, chair of the Yidan Prize Judging Committee and the former director-general of UNESCO. “Our laureates are crucial to our aim of transforming education worldwide – and through that, unlocking a brighter future for all learners.”

Yidan Prize laureates each receive a total of $3.9 million, half of which is cash prize while the other half is project funding toward educational initiatives.

Since the Yidan Prize was first awarded in 2017, six of the 13 laureates have been Stanford professors or alumni. The 2022 awards will be presented at a ceremony in Hong Kong on Dec. 4.