Yale Ed Studies Program History: 1940-2010

Today, we continue the story of Education Studies at Yale, which continued to evolve after Yale’s Education department closed in 1950. Between 1947 and 1951, New Haven State Teachers College teamed up with Yale to offer Masters degrees in Education—a partnership that led to the creation of Southern Connecticut State University.

Meanwhile, the Teacher Preparation Program (introduced in 1973) saw Yale move teacher training to the undergraduate level, offering courses on pedagogy that led to early childhood and high school teacher certification. Over time, the number of certifications decreased—Spanish, Music, and Early Education were removed—but Yale continued to invest in training local teachers through the Urban Teaching Initiative, a partnership between the University and New Haven. From 2006, the program offered tuition-free Master’s degrees, a teaching license, and a living stipend to graduates who’d go on to teach for at least 3 years in New Haven public schools. Jack Gillette served as the Director of Teacher Preparation and Education Studies, located at 35 Broadway (pictured above). 

Everything changed on Nov 15, 2010. In an email, Yale announced the Teacher Prep Program would shut down. Yale also ended the Urban Teaching Initiative, saying the University’s most effective education work would “involve initiatives other than formal teacher education.” Then-Dean Mary Miller pointed to the growing number of Yale students applying to Teach for America to explain the decision, as well as low enrollment in Teacher Preparation. One reason for the latter was the high workload required for state certification; on top of around 8 teacher prep courses, students had to spend a full semester teaching in a classroom, a commitment of nearly a year and a half of their time at Yale.

So, Dean Miller concluded that TFA’s five week training had become the “number one gateway” for aspiring teachers at Yale. Although Education Studies classes on research or theory were still offered, following the departure of Ed Studies’ two program directors, the program’s fate was uncertain.

But, Yale students were still interested in education, and they decided to do something about it. Stay tuned to find out what happened next…