Dean of Education: Ann Marcus
By Marylena Mantas
is a very difficult job and it needs to be a respectable middle
class profession, says Ann Marcus, Dean of the Steinhardt School
of Education at New York University.
Since 1989 Marcus has led the school of education, which traces
its origins to the School of Pedagogy established at NYU in 1890
and was the first education school of its kind in the United States.
Today the school prepares approximately 2,300 undergraduate and
4,500 graduate students to enter the field of education. Over
80 percent of its graduates teach in the public school system.
quality is the single most important thing. What we need are highly
competent, experienced people, says Marcus of the current challenges
facing public school education. She cited the lack of certified
teachers and the low retention rate as education's primary challenges
and emphasized that new teachers need support.
any circumstances teaching is a difficult job in the first years,
According to Marcus, several factors can bring more individuals
to the teaching profession, including providing youth with positive
exposure to teaching through internships. She also suggests creating
mechanisms to support the number of new people entering the teaching
profession, such as the establishment of a five-year program that
allows students to complete their Bachelors and Masters degrees
in education in five years. In addition, she emphasized that career
changers must be supported and that immersion programs must be
established to allow current uncertified teachers to gain certification.
source for certified teachers has to be the current uncertified
teachers. There needs to be a huge investment in helping them
get their degrees, says Marcus, adding that "the basic strength
of the profession can be found in the people who want to go into
To address the retention of teachers, Marcus underscored that
new teachers must be supported as soon as they enter the profession
and be provided with professional development. In addition she
highlighted that an improvement in working conditions, such as
an increase in salaries, must take place.
have to emphasize the highly sophisticated approach to teaching
and learning, says Marcus. "The reason schools of education exist
is because there is so much to be learned in terms of pedagogy.
In the end there are no shortcuts.
According to Marcus, the number of applicants to the school of
education has increased in recent years, which she considers indicative
of the fact that "teaching still maintains a positive hold on
the public's imagination. Students of the Steinhardt School of
Education are immersed in an educational environment upholding
research and practice.
always had a strong populist tradition, said Marcus. "We believe
in students having connections with schools. That is the platform
from which we do research.
According to Marcus, the Steinhardt school retains strong relationships
with several New York City school districts, including districts,
4, 10, and 13. The collaboration with district 13 in Brooklyn,
which has been in place for eight years, has been the strongest.
The establishment of several Centers and Institutes over the years
allows students to conduct field-based research and to provide
services to the public schools.
Marcus cited the NYU Reading Recovery Program as an example of
the collaborations between the school and the community. The program,
which involves 16 NYC school districts and districts in New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, and Northern Virginia, "is designed to identify
and assist those first grade children who are at maximum risk
of reading failure. In addition to providing teacher training
and technical assistance to school administrators, the program
provides students with one-on-one intervention for up to 12 weeks.
According to Marcus, 80 percent of the students who receive intervention
never fall behind again. Other programs administered through the
NYU Steinhardt School of Education include, The Professional Development
Laboratory, The Institute for Education and Social Policy, and
The Metropolitan Center for Urban Education.
the years schools of education have become] more connected to
urban education and more focused on the broad issues of training,
rather than just training teachers, Marcus said, adding that
NYU has a long tradition of such collaborations. "We've insisted
that our faculty remain involved with the community.
An emphasis on research remains an integral part of Marcus' vision
for the Steinhardt School of Education and for its students, whom
she characterized as "young, diverse, idealistic individuals
who come to NYU "wanting to be teachers.
like us to become more of a leading center of research because
we are a leader in practice, she said. "Teachers should know
not only how to understand research, but also how to do research
in their own classrooms.#
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