Future of Ed. Studies unclear

Undergraduates hoping to pursue careers in education may be running out of options as the University continues to phase out what remains of the Education Studies track.

Yale canceled the Teacher Preparation track in 2010, citing budgetary issues and the pre-professional nature of the training program as reasons behind its termination, but continued to offer a series of courses under the Education Studies umbrella. The University’s decision to end Teacher Preparation caused then-Director of Education Studies Jack Gillette to resign, and professor Linda Cole-Taylor took over, currently running the track and teaching the majority of its courses. But Cole-Taylor will also leave the University at the end of the fall after negotiations with the University to change the program fell through.

“We are going to be making some new appointments to continue offering Education Studies,” Yale College Dean Mary Miller said. “It’s actually a transition rather than a phasing out, making a transition to a non-certification program, and I actually think we have a lot of exciting opportunities ahead of us.”

The certification component of the Teacher Preparation program provided students who aspired to careers as teachers with training and clinical experience. But the Yale College Dean’s Office deemed the high costs associated with placing students in schools around New Haven unworthy given low student interest in certification. Though Miller said the number of students graduating with teacher certification in Connecticut had dwindled down to zero by the program’s end, Cole-Taylor said she does not recall the numbers ever attaining such a low level, adding that a student graduated with teacher certification last spring in the last class of Teacher Preparation students.

Cole-Taylor said the Education Studies program, even without teacher certification, has been criticized by administrators as being overly pre-professional, but she added that the true merit of Education Studies lay in its focus on psychology and teaching theory rather than on hands-on training.

Four Education Studies students interviewed said they think Education Studies should persist at Yale without its certification component, adding that the Education Studies classes they have taken have drawn students from multiple majors.

Sophia Weissmann ’14 said the Education Studies courses she has taken, including Cole-Taylor’s “Schools, the Community and the Teacher,” were all oversubscribed and competitive to get into.

While Miller maintains that the University will hire a replacement for Cole-Taylor, students in the Education Studies program fear that the Dean’s Office will soon eliminate the program’s course offerings altogether.

Cole-Taylor said prospective students have contacted her out of concern over the fate of the Education Studies track, adding that Yale may lose some of its prospective applicants as a result of its relatively small Education Studies program.

Katy Clayton ’14 said she came to Yale in part to pursue the Teacher Preparation program, adding that now, with what appears to be a gradual phasing out of Education Studies, students like her will likely turn to other universities.

“When [the program] was discontinued, I was kind of shocked, because I don’t see how Yale, as an institution of higher learning, can’t be invested in perpetuating that,” Clayton said.

Grace Lindsey ’15, who has taken Education Studies courses and shadowed New Haven schoolteachers, said she has encountered several Yale alumni who completed the Teacher Preparation program.

“[There is] a substantive impact that Yale is making on the community by having Teacher Preparation and real Education Studies,” said Lindsey.

Current courses offered in Education Studies include “The Teaching of History” and “Observation.”

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