Yale announced last month that it can no longer support its undergraduate teacher training program, citing high operating costs and low enrollment. UTEP, the counterpart at Harvard, does not face similar financial straits, according to UTEP Associate Director Megan H. Charner-Laird.
“UTEP is a surprisingly inexpensive program to run, since many of its courses piggyback on the Graduate School of Education courses offered for the graduate teacher education program,” Charner-Laird wrote in an e-mail statement. “I think this is a distinct difference between UTEP and Yale’s program.”
Like UTEP at Harvard, Yale’s program gives students the opportunity to earn teacher certification along with an undergraduate degree. About 18 to 25 Yale juniors sign up for courses in the preparation program each year, but few earn certification. Last year three students were certified, and none will be certified this year, according to the Yale Daily News. About 25 students enroll in Harvard’s program each year, Charner-Laird wrote.
Nicole K. Shadeed ’04, a graduate of UTEP, said Harvard tried to recruit more students to the program while she was an undergraduate.
“I had heard whispers when I was there that it wasn’t very popular,” Shaheed said. “I think the big issue is that students aren’t aware that it exists.”
Carla M. Horwitz, who directs the early childhood education program at Yale, said the dean’s office told concerned students that other avenues to the teaching profession were available to them, like Teach for America.
Horwitz and Shadeed expressed disappointment about Yale’s decision.
“I think it’s a tragedy,” Horwitz said. “I think there are so many people who have become wonderful teachers and advocates for children through the teacher preparation program.”
Shadeed said UTEP is valuable and should be retained.
“It would definitely be a shame if it was cut,” Shadeed said. “It’s definitely exactly what I was looking for in a program to train me how to be a teacher.”
Both Horwitz and Shadeed said Teach for America does not replicate a traditional teacher preparation course.
“You can’t compare the six weeks of training that TFA can do with a full year of training, doing the coursework, teaching the classes, and leaving with a certification to be a teacher,” Shadeed said.