GEAR UP began as a partnership with the Center for Innovative and Transformative Education (CITE) and Partnerships for Community Action (PCA) at Bowling Green State University, The Merze Tate Center for Research on School Reform at Western Michigan University, and the Small Schools Workshop in Chicago, three university-based agencies that provide research-based assistance to public schools in the region, and agree to cooperate as the Midwest Education Reform Consortium (MERC). The three agencies have applied for federal funding together as a partnership in order to enhance our work with schools that serve children of poverty in the Great Lakes region. The primary focus of MERC is to restructure pk-12 schools and reform teacher education to help them better serve the academic needs of children of poverty.
The broader purposes for the consortium include:
• Sharing experiences in the work of assisting schools and children of poverty through conferences, publishing, and on-line dialogue.
• Bringing new resources into the region to support educational reform for schools serving children of poverty, specifically through school restructuring and enhancement of teacher education.
BGSU is a founding member of MERC, a three-state, integrated and collaborative partnership which culls the best practices from previous work in school reform programs to create GEAR UP Learning Centers to address the systematic gaps causing severe educational and performance needs of high poverty students.
Currently, GEAR UP at Bowling Green State University is a program of the School of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education and Human Development. We also partner with Toledo Public Schools, East Toledo Family Center and the University of Toledo on our particular project.