Carol Burris is the principal of an outstanding public high school on Long Island, in New York State. She often writes about education for The Answer Sheet. Burris has won awards for her leadership and her school has been recognized for its achievements.
Burris just published an article about the Relay Graduate School of Education. This is a masters’ program that was created by three charter school chains to prepare teachers for working in charter schools. It is certainly not a traditional graduate school of education. There do not seem to be courses in cognitive development, child psychology, sociology of education, history of education, or varied pedagogical models and strategies. There is only one pedagogical strategy, and apparently it is the one that is best at raising test scores.
As I read Burris’ description of Relay, I had two questions:
Why did the New York State Board of Regents permit this “school” to call its program a “graduate” program of education with the authority to award masters’ degrees? There is something incestuous about a “graduate” program created by charter schools to give masters’ degrees to their own teachers.
And second, what is it in the psyche of young men and women, most of whom graduated from prestigious secondary schools, private and public, that enables them to impose a boot-camp style of discipline on boys and girls of color that is unlike anything in their own experience?