The Council for Basic Education (CBE), founded in 1956, as an independent non-profit organization dedicated to high academic standards and improving the quality of teaching, works in the United States and with various partner nations overseas. It develops and establishes programs that support teachers, administrators and policymakers to reform and improve the quality of education offered in their countries, states, and districts. Currently, the Council for Basic Education has a number of initiatives underway focused on improving the quality of teachers and administrators, the most pertinent being the Schools Around the World (SAW) program.
SAW is a multinational professional development model that promotes excellence in the teaching and learning of mathematics and science through the use of interactive technology. It gives science and math teachers the opportunity to use student work from their own classrooms to improve achievement by examining and reflecting upon their own teaching practice and that of teachers from around the world. The program works through a combination of both in school workshops and online seminars. Staff of the Schools Around the World program facilitate workshops to help teachers achieve expertise in their teaching practices.
The online curriculum is organized to facilitate the development of teaching skills that are appropriate for teachers in the 21st century. It covers content development, assessment techniques, and pedagogical skills all directed to serving a widely diverse group of students. Special attention is provided in the workshops to equity issues for under served populations and female students, particularly in mathematics and science. Because the entire SAW program can be accessed online, female teachers who cannot always study in public can participate as well.
SAW is at the forefront of Internet/IT activities offering a low-cost, non-formal teacher professional development program for teachers around the world. An active web site provides access to all the SAW offerings including a constantly growing database of student work from nine nations, Australia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong/SAR, Japan, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the seminars and web tours. CBE/SAW has developed a level of expertise with using technology for providing professional development that can now be expanded to serve other nations and groups of learners also. Through technology, it offers teachers a means for connecting to ideas and other people, and while English is the basic language of the system, staff at SAW speak a variety of languages.