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Education Policy and Practice at Yale SOM

Colleen Phelan, Yale SOM’s associate director for The Broad Center, shares a look inside a (virtual) Yale SOM classroom this semester.

This spring Yale SOM Professor Barbara Biasi taught a new course on Education Policy. Most of the 30 enrolled students are pursuing Yale SOM’s MBA degree, and in keeping with the school’s pursuit of interdisciplinary dialogue, the group also included a number of undergraduates and other master’s degree students. There were several former educators in the class, some of whom have taught in New York City and Chicago, along with a handful of students who went to school outside of the US and are interested in K-12 education in contexts of developing countries.

Throughout the first four weeks of the course, students considered policies related to accountability, school choice, teacher pay and desegregation. Before the midway point of the course, a Yale SOM graduate, Joe Holland ’03, joined to co-teach with Professor Biasi. Joe is the CEO of Teachers Pay Teachers, which offers more than 3 million free and paid resources for educators created by educators. Joe and his team focus on harnessing the collective wisdom of teachers across the country. In their conversation, he spoke with students about growing the organization and ensuring quality control of materials as the platform grows in scale. Joe highlighted the current work TPT is doing to partner with districts during the COVID-19 pandemic, including offering TPT School Access free to schools through the end of the school year. His on-the-ground perspective as a leader working in education sparked robust conversation to carry forward the questions the class has explored so far.