The little ed school that could

students asleep in class photo

Enthralling lecture 
(Photo by Robert S. Donovan 19)

While traditional ed schools continue to defy
efforts at reform and transparency
, other innovative teacher-training
programs are moving forward. Enter New York-based Relay School of Education as
a prime specimen. There are no university campuses or lecture halls for Relay’s
students, who spend most of their training in their own classrooms under the
guidance of mentors. Degrees aren’t conferred based on GPA or class time. To complete
Relay’s two-year program—which encompasses 60 “modules” connected to real-world
issues, like pacing and discipline—just demonstrate that your students have
made at least one year of academic progress in your chosen subject. A fantastic
evolution—but not one that is universally welcomed. Status-quo defenders have
already lamented Relay’s alleged de-professionalization of teaching. It’s hard
to believe, though, that novice teachers will receive less professional
preparation as active participants in real K-12 classrooms than they would get
in a distant university setting, half-listening to yet another lecture on Paulo

Ed Schools’ Pedagogical Puzzle,” New York Times,
July 21, 2011.