The Last Days of Education Schools?

The true contribution of schools of education to, well, actual education has long been a matter of debate. Back in October Education Secretary Arne Duncan said most education schools were “mediocre” and served as “cash cows” for other academic programs.

This week New York State takes what may be the first step in the ultimate elimination of the education schools. According to an article by Lisa Foderaro in the New York Times:

The New York State Board of Regents could deliver the biggest blow. It will vote on whether to greatly expand the role of the alternative organizations by allowing them to create their own master’s degree programs. At the extreme, the proposal could make education schools extraneous.

If the proposal is approved, it wouldn’t just be colleges that could grant licenses and degrees for teaching:

Under the Regents’ proposal, which… does not need the approval of the State Legislature, Teach for America and similar groups could create their own master’s programs, and the Regents would award the master’s degree, two powers that are now the sole domain of academia.

It’s probably about time for this change. Even longtime educator Arthur Levine, formerly the president of Columbia University’s Teachers College didn’t appear to think the change is the worst thing to occur: “In a lot of respects, what the Regents have done is the ghost of Christmas future,” said Levine…. “Education schools are on the verge of losing their franchise.”

It’s a pretty expensive franchise, too. Tuition at Teachers Colleges comes out to like $26,040 a year.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer