A Sign of the Times: Yale pulls investment in urban education

Yale University is shutting down its teacher preparation graduate program in urban education—a small, focused, and intense program—as well as its undergraduate early childhood education and secondary certification programs by the end of 2012. The university plans to reinvest these funds in a Promise scholarship program offering full state college tuition for New Haven public school students.

Tara Stevens, a graduate of the soon-to-be-obsolete master’s program, considers the program a long-term solution to educational obstacles in New Haven, particularly the wealth-opportunity gap. She claims Yale is only throwing money at the problem by creating a new program. Others from the school have concerns that while the Promise scholarship program will help some, ultimately, because of its hard-to-attain standards, the “promise” for many area students will remain out of reach.

The university is not the first to go down this path. West Virginia instituted a similar Promise scholarship program in 2001. However, the “whys” behind their decision raise larger questions about the future of our education system. Can a scholarship program benefit the education system as much as a rigorous, high-quality teacher preparation program? The reality is attendance is down in teacher education programs everywhere. The Panetta Institute for Public Policy released survey findings stating that interest in becoming a public school teacher has fallen from 45 percent in 2006 to just 28 percent in 2010.

What do you think about replacing a rigorous teacher preparation program with a scholarship program? Why are college students less and less interested in becoming teachers? Will we be seeing many more cuts to quality teacher education programs?

See the full story on Yale’s decision here.

See full survey results here.

Details about the West Virginia program can be found here.

3 Comments

  • Ann Shelton says:

    Here is an interesting op-ed piece in the Atlanta Journal and constitution written by a young Yale PhD graduate who teaches in DeKalb County, an urban system in Georgia. It’s doubtful he’ll survive the administrative backlash:
    http://www.ajc.com/opinion/raze-dekalbs-education-ghetto-805564.html

  • Brittany Stuller says:

    I feel that more and more college students are backing out of teacher programs in college because they are seeing how difficult it is to find a job in this economically difficult time. When education budgets are the first to get cut, they cut teachers and up the class size. Unless you know people in the states and districts in order to get into a school then you have no pull in getting a position. I graduated in spring 2010 as a teacher and they ahd said when I went into college there’s such a need for teachers, yet I graduated and I have yet to find a teaching position. College students are seeing this and they are changing their careers. I do work in a school as a personal assistant and one of the first grade teachers was supposed to get a student teacher this past week; well two weeks before the semester started the student teacher backed out of the teacher prep. program because there are no jobs out there. They continuously cut budgets and teachers, but then complain because classes are too big and the kids aren’t getting what they need; it’s a total contradiction and a lose-lose situation.

  • Catherine Noble says:

    I spent 2 years teaching in Scottish primary schools in Glasgow. It was an interesting time full of growth professionally and personally. I discovered a world full of similarities and differences from our Georgia system. Schools were kept local and small, but class sizes were large with up to 35 students in elementary schools. Assessment was informal and antidotal. There were no standarized test nor, data to drive instruction. Materials were scarse and limited in their approach. Technology was also limited. However, students’ needs, the pressure to produce quality work, and high levels of teacher professionalism were present. It was interesting to discover that though we are an ocean apart, the challenges of education are similar and the resources everywhere are limited, especially now. We have a great deal to be thankful for in this country, though our state does struggle with real issues as we face the future.

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