Hi all! I just received a merit scholarship for the University of Pennsylvania’s master’s of science program in Reading, Writing, and Literacy (RWL) with the Reading Specialist certification. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with this program. Fordham University also gave me a generous amount of money as well as a graduate assistantship and is cheaper than Penn even with the scholarship they gave me. I would only be able to teach adolescents English at Fordham whereas Penn’s program seems more flexible- (they mentioned alumni being in research, policymaking for education, reading specialists, and more). However, I would have to relocate, whereas for Fordham I would not. Does anyone have any insight on Fordham or Penn for Education, or more specifically, for Penn GSE? Are RWL alumni working in other fields besides as classroom teachers and reading specialists/does the degree provide as much flexibility as it seems? Thanks, any info would be appreciated!
Can you reach out to Penn’s alumni? I would be cautious of a program that says their graduates are working in education policy and research, etc with a degree in reading/writing/literacy and a reading specialist certification (these are intended for those who wish to teach). Maybe these grads have an additional degree or certification?
If you wish to work in education policy and/or research, I suggest that you start by teaching first and gaining valuable classroom experience (do you have this experience?). This will allow you to see first hand and up close, problems and changes that need to be made etc.
I just looked at the website for this degree at Penn, which lists alumni careers. There were no listings for policy and research. The careers listed were all teaching positions. This leads me to believe that the degree may help develop/introduce skills and experience, but in and of itself will not lead to a career in policy.
My advice is to go with Fordham, as it is cheaper and you will not have to relocate. You can also attend CUNY. Once you graduate, spend a few years in the classroom and then go back for a degree in education policy. Your classroom experience will set you up for success. If you want to make change, it is important to experience the issues.
If your undergrad degree is not in education, you may want to explore a program such as City Year (acceptance is less competitive than TFA). After working in an inner city school for 2-3 years you would be in a better position (extremely valuable experience) to succeed in education policy (it’s a one year degree). You will also be better positioned to discuss these issues during interviews.
Just my opinion