Lehman grads lead in serving high-needs schools


A Department of Education [DOE] study found graduates from Lehman College are frequently among newly hired teachers in the city’s so-called highest-needs public schools from 12 local colleges and universities.

According to the study released last week, 46 percent of Lehman graduates were among newly hired teachers working in the highest-needs schools across the city between 2008 and 2012. Mercy College graduates led the ratings in that category with 48 percent.

“We’ve charged ourselves with the responsibility of providing teachers and building leaders for situations that are very challenging,” said Harriet Fayne, dean of Lehman’s School of Education.  “Our graduates are getting hired at some of the highest-needs schools at a rate that is higher than some of our peer institutions.” 

Besides Lehman, the study included four other schools in the City University system, along with seven private institutions.

The average placement of graduates from the other 11 schools in underserved areas was 30 percent. 

The ratings – the first of their kind in the country – also evaluated the number of new hires remaining in city public schools, among other categories.

The DOE said the ratings were intended to foster collaboration between preparation programs and public schools.

“The goal of these reports is to start a dialogue,” said DOE spokesman Devon Puglia. “We’re going to continue to collaborate with schools of education to work towards developing a long-term strategy that ensures training programs are aligning their preparation with the needs of our schools.”

Ms. Fayne said in the balance of art and science that goes into teaching, the ratings marked another step toward making the profession a more precise science.  “As we’ve developed better and better conceptual frameworks and knowledge bases about teaching and learning, things have gotten more scientific,” she said.

The ratings’ highest-needs category includes Districts 75 and 79, which are dedicated to special and alternative education, respectively.

Retired teacher and Riverdalian Paul Hogan, who taught in district 75 for nearly three decades, said he was skeptical about the purpose of the ratings.  “They’re looking for simple answers to complex questions,” he said.

A written statement from the DOE quoted Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying,

 “New York City’s work is a major step forward, and one from which others can learn.”