Book Talk: Teaching Teachers, with James W. Fraser and Lauren Lefty, Tuesday, 3/26, 5:15-7pm

306 Russell

Title: Teaching Teachers: Changing Paths and Enduring Debates

Please join us for a discussion with authors James W. Fraser and Lauren Lefty of their recent book, Teaching Teachers: Changing Paths and Enduring Debates (Johns Hopkins, 2018).

"As recently as 1990, if a person wanted to become a public school teacher in the United States, he or she needed to attend an accredited university education program. Less than three decades later, the variety of routes into teaching is staggering. In Teaching Teachers, education historians James W. Fraser and Lauren Lefty look at these alternative programs through the lens of the past.

Fraser and Lefty explain how, beginning in 1986, an extraordinary range of new teaching programs emerged, most of which moved teacher education out of universities. In some school districts and charter schools, superintendents started their own teacher preparation programs―sometimes in conjunction with universities, sometimes not. Other teacher educators designed blended programs, creating collaboration between university teacher education programs and other parts of the university, linking with school districts and independent providers, and creating a range of novel options.

Fraser and Lefty argue that three factors help explain this dramatic shift in how teachers are trained: an ethos that market forces were the solution to social problems; long-term dissatisfaction with the inadequacies of university-based teacher education; and the frustration of school superintendents with teachers themselves, who can seem both underprepared and too quick to challenge established policy. Surveying which programs are effective and which are not, this book also examines the impact of for-profit teacher training in the classroom. Casting light on the historical and social forces that led to the sea change in the ways American teachers are prepared, Teaching Teachers is a substantial and unbiased history of a controversial topic."

-- Book Summary

James W. Fraser, Professor of History and Education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, holds a joint appointment in the departments of Humanities and Social Sciences and Teaching and Learning. He is the author of several books on the history of education, including recently Teaching Teachers: Changing Paths and Enduring Debates (2018). He is a past president of the History of Education Society. Fraser was Senior Vice President for Programs at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, where he coordinated the different Fellowship programs and led the launch of the Foundation’s Fellowships for Teachers.

Lauren Lefty is a New York University doctoral candidate in the History of Education focusing education policy and activism across the Americas, Latinx education, and global history. Her dissertation “Seize the Schools, Que Viva Puerto Rico Libre” examines connections between education politics in New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico between 1948 and 1974, considering how both high level policy and grassroots activism were shaped by border-crossing interactions and a larger Cold War and imperial context. Ultimately, this project argues in favor of a transnational, hemispheric approach to understanding postwar education reform, including key milestones such as the War on Poverty and ESEA, community control, and bilingual/bicultural education. Lauren is also the co-author of two books with NYU Professor James Fraser on the recent history of teacher preparation in the U.S. and around the world: Teaching Teachers: Changing Paths and Enduring Debates (2018) and Teaching the World’s Teachers: A History, 1970-2017 (forthcoming). 

Before beginning graduate studies, Lauren worked as a middle school teacher on the Texas-Mexico border, a high school teacher in Brooklyn, New York, and as a policy planner for the NYC Department of Education. Lauren is also the recipient of the 2016 National Education Association/Spencer Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

This book talk is co-sponsored by the Center for Innovation for Teacher Education and Development (CITED) and the Colloquium in History and Education as part of an ongoing series of events to spur critical thinking and scholarship in the education profession.

Where: 306 Russell


To request disability-related accommodations contact OASID at, (212) 678-3689, (212) 678-3853 TTY, (646) 755-3144 video phone, as early as possible.

Last Updated: 12:57 pm, Monday, Feb 18 , 2019