Mercedes Schneider did some research and discovered that a very large proportion of the “deans” at the Relay “Graduate Schools of Education” got their start in Teach for America.

This makes sense. TFA bypasses traditional professional education and places ill-prepared “teachers” in urban and rural classrooms with only five weeks of training. Who would go to a doctor who never went to medical school but had five weeks of training? Who would go to a “lawyer” who skipped law school and read law books for five weeks?

Relay is the right place for “deans” with no real education background. These faux “graduate schools” have none of the authentic markers of a genuine graduate school of education. Few, if any, of their faculty have doctorates. They have no programs in the foundations of education, in cognitive development, in learning the skills need to be a teacher of children with disabilities or a teacher of English language learners. Libraries? I don’t think so.

Relay grew out of a program created at Hunter College called TeacherU, whose purpose was to prepare young people to teach in charter schools. It was sponsored by three no-excuses charter chains: KIPP, Achievement First, and Uncommon Schools. What matters most to the no-excuses charters are strict discipline and test scores. Who needs research? Who needs scholarship? Who needs experts in school finance or history or psychology? Not Relay.

Like the unaccredited Broad Superintendents Academy, Relay is a means of bypassing professional education while mimicking it.

The Atlanta Board of Education just awarded a $600,000 sole source contract to Relay to prepare leaders.

Schneider reviews the background of the 15 Relay “deans” and concludes:

There you have it: 15 “deans”; no Ph.D.s (but one almost); no bachelors degrees in education; no refereed publications, and not a one “dean” qualified for a tenure-track position in a legitimate college of education. But who needs legitimacy when you can franchise yourself into a deanship?

What a farce.

P.S. Mercedes Schneider has an earned Ph.D. in research methodology and statistics. She chose to teach high school students in Louisiana. She knows what a legitimate graduate school of education is.