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Stanford School of Education launches center to improve Brazilian education

March 14, 2012
School of Education News
Partnership with Lemann Foundation will train a new generation of policy leaders, tech innovators and entrepreneurs to transform education in Brazil.

CONTACT:  Amy Yuen, Stanford University School of Education/External Relations, (650) 724-9440, amy.yuen@stanford.edu 

COMMENT:  Paulo Blikstein, Assistant Professor of Education, Stanford University School of Education, (847) 571-4538, paulob@stanford.edu  

Denis Mizne, Executive Director, Lemann Foundation, 55-11-3897-9672, Denis.Mizne@fundacaolemann.org.br

(Photo: Linda A. Cicero)

STANFORD, CA – In a concerted effort to significantly improve public education in Brazil in the next decade, Stanford University School of Education has launched a new center on campus aimed at developing new approaches to improve learning in Brazilian public schools. Named the Lemann Center for Educational Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Brazil, the Center will create new educational opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, particularly for Brazil’s low-income students.

The Center is a ten-year partnership between Stanford and the Lemann Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the quality of public education in Brazil. Program activities will predominantly take place on the Stanford campus, with additional exchanges, seminars, and research to take place in Brazil.

“We want to train a new generation of educational researchers and practitioners in Brazil, and encourage innovative policies that will help our emerging country define our own education system,” said Denis Mizne, executive director of the Lemann Foundation. “We chose to partner with Stanford University because of its proximity to Silicon Valley and its demonstrated ability to inspire interdisciplinary solutions to complex, global problems.” 

In addition to training educational researchers and practitioners, the Center will train Brazilian policymakers, technology innovators, and entrepreneurs to improve access and quality in the educational system in Brazil, which has become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. The Center aims to attract the best and brightest of Brazil’s graduates and professionals from a range of top-ranked fields, including engineering, economics, applied mathematics, and business.

“The Stanford School of Education is known for producing leaders who are shaping research and practice around the world, and we are thrilled to build on our global involvement in education,” said Co-principal Investigator Martin Carnoy, the Vida Jacks Professor of Education. “We view the Center’s three areas of focus—education policy, technological innovation, and entrepreneurship—as crucial components to sustaining lasting educational reform in a country as large and diverse as Brazil.”

Major initiatives of the new Center include:

Graduate training: Fellowships will be offered annually to students from Brazil admitted to the School of Education's master’s and doctoral programs and through Stanford's joint MA/MBA program between the Graduate Business School and the School of Education. Students will be trained to play key roles in Brazil in the areas of educational policy, learning design, and educational entrepreneurship.

Hosting visiting researchers and professionals: The Center will invite visiting educational researchers and innovators from Brazil to attend seminars and to work with Stanford faculty and Lemann Fellowship students.

Researching Innovative Approaches to Educational Change: The Center's four lead faculty—Eric Bettinger, Paulo Blikstein, Martin Carnoy, and David Plank—will work with Lemann Fellows, visiting researchers and professionals, and other Stanford faculty and students to produce and disseminate research on educational policy, technological innovation, measurement, and entrepreneurial projects related to improving Brazilian education.

Implementing an Educational Think Tank in Brazil: The Center will create a counterpart policy research dissemination organization in Brazil, with the goal of increasing the impact of academic policy research in education policy debates in Brasilia and/or state capitals. This Brazil-based organization will draw on the expertise of Brazilian and other education policy scholars.

Supporting Teacher Education in Brazil: The Center will work with the Stanford Teacher Education Program to train teams of teacher educators in highly effective, innovative methods for preparing high quality teachers in the context of the Brazilian university system.  

“Creating this center has been my dream and a goal for years,” said Co-principal Investigator Paulo Blikstein, assistant professor of education and director of Stanford’s Transformative Learning Technologies Lab. “As a Brazilian-born scholar, I am excited about our partnership with the Lemann Foundation to improve education, especially among the disadvantaged. We need the best minds in the country thinking about how to improve learning in Brazilian public schools.

“Through this center, we are putting together technological innovation and large-scale policy change in a way that has never been done before, and we are scaling up cutting-edge educational innovation. Every country should be doing this in today’s knowledge economy. We cannot settle for the ‘basics’ anymore,” added Blikstein. 

We hope to make a real and positive impact on education in Brazil through this exciting new partnership with the Lemann Foundation,” said Claude Steele, the I. James Quillen Dean of the School of Education. “I know we will have a lively exchange with Brazilian colleagues and practitioners, and I am equally hopeful that this new work will enrich our research and teaching. The Lemann Center will sharpen our ability to prepare our graduates to live and work in an increasingly international context.”

Established in 2002, the Lemann Foundation is a nonprofit organization working to improve the quality of public education in Brazil. The foundation provides outstanding opportunities to talented youth to build a more productive and equitable country. The Lemann Center for Educational Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Brazil is another initiative of the Lemann Foundation to help develop qualified human capital in the country and accelerate social change in Brazil.

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