New Graduate Schools of Education

Emphasizing learning from practice since 2000, new graduate schools of education (nGSEs) offer master’s degree programs in teaching that are unaffiliated with colleges or universities. Through a grant from the Spencer Foundation, Marilyn Cochran-Smith, the Lynch School’s Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education for Urban Schools, and her research team are the first to systematically examine how teachers are prepared in nGSEs. 

“Some people think these new graduate schools of education are going to reinvent the way we do teacher preparation, improving teacher quality by relocating teacher preparation and focusing more on practice,” observes Cochran-Smith. Others, she says, have sharply critiqued some nGSEs as taking a technical, more rigid approach to pedagogy—a strategy critics say “will reproduce the kinds of inequities we already have.”

Cochran-Smith and her research team are beginning to publish some of their preliminary results. But one thing they have learned so far is that although there are some common characteristics, teacher preparation at nGSEs also varies greatly from one program to the next.

The goal of the study is to “get underneath the rhetoric and controversial claims to see what’s really going on at new graduate schools of education.”
Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education for Urban Schools

By the numbers


percent enrollment drop in university teacher preparation programs in the past 5–7 years while nGSE teacher preparation enrollment has increased


new graduate schools of education established, including some with multiple campuses


months of preprofessional teacher preparation offered by nGSEs, after which teachers are responsible for a classroom


Select presentations of the nGSE study

Cochran-Smith, M., Keefe, E. S., Miller, A. F., Sanchez, J. G., & Carney, M. C. (2018) Teacher Preparation at New Graduate Schools of Education: Studying a Controversial Innovation. American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New York, NY, April 16, 2018.

Cochran-Smith, M., Carney, M. C., Miller, A. F., & Sánchez, J. G. (2017). New Graduate Schools of Education: Studying a Controversial Innovation. Symposium session at the annual meeting of the New England Educational Research Organization, Portsmouth, NH, April 6, 2017.
Cochran-Smith, M., Carney, M. C., & Miller, A. F. (2016). Relocating Teacher Preparation: New Graduate Schools of Education and Their Implications. Presentation for the Endowed Chairs Colloquium Series, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, November 29, 2016.


Project TEER (Teacher Education and Education Reform)

Marilyn Cochran-Smith leads Project TEER, a collaborative research group focused on new teacher preparation, licensure, and accountability initiatives.

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Reclaiming Accountability in Teacher Education

Cochran-Smith is the lead author of Reclaiming Accountability in Teacher Education (Teachers College Press), a book designated a 2018 Critics Choice Award winner from the American Educational Studies Association.

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Norway’s International Advisory Panel on Teacher Education

Marilyn Cochran-Smith chairs the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT) International Advisory Panel on Teacher Education.

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Project RITE (Rethinking Initial Teacher Education for Equity)

Marilyn Cochran-Smith is a leading member of Project RITE, a two-country research team that links Lynch School faculty with teacher educators at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

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Formative education at the Lynch School

Formative education engages the whole person, guiding young people toward purposeful lives and challenging them to work toward fulfillment and more ideal selves and societies. Formative education helps create communities that encourage exploring the different dimensions of intellectual, emotional, interpersonal, and spiritual development.