Help reshape the national narrative around urban teaching while working with urban youth to develop a better understanding of Detroit and what it would take to make school truly meaningful, relevant, and empowering.

Earn 3 credits—equivalent to 90 SCHECHs for renewal of a professional certificate



Week by Week Course Overview

The first week of class will feature a guest lecture by preeminent urban sociologist and historian Thomas Sugrue, author of Origins of the Urban Crisis.  Youth interns from the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion will also lead us through their acclaimed exhibit on the post-war history of racial inequality in housing, education, employment, and transportation in Detroit.  These and other experiences will help us deepen our sense of the current moment— historically, culturally, economically, politically, educationally— in the Detroit area.

The second week of class will offer us the possibility to better understand the impact of the current corporate education reform movement on teaching and learning, both nationally and locally.  This corporate education reform movement has emphasized the need for schools to compete over “customers” and has used high-stakes standardized test-based accountability to close down schools that produce lower test scores— mainly in urban, low-income communities of color.  We will chart this phenomenon in Detroit, and will look at the question of whether such reform has improved or further compromised education in our metropolitan community.

The third week will be our opportunity to read and brainstorm together on how this all might be different— how a new and very different urban education reform narrative and movement might put the professionalism of teachers and the voices and interests of youth, families, and urban communities at the center of reform.  During this week we will work closely with the youth interns of the Michigan Roundtable to imagine and actually practice what urban teaching that is transformative, imaginative, joyful, and relevant might look like.

Finally, in the fourth week we will draw together what we have learned about the current moment in our metropolitan community, the contours and impacts of the dominant corporate education reform movement, and our growing sense— created in dialogue with youth— of how things might be different, to propose policy recommendations to state and local educational policy makers.  As we think about the policy implications of the course, we will also dialogue with a group of urban teachers situated in another urban context— Philadelphia— to compare notes on the challenges and possibilities we now encounter.


There are three registration categories for this course:

Current Wayne State graduate students can enroll in the Institute as they would for any other course.  The course is listed on the registration site as TED 7800: Practicum in Curriculum Theory, Development, and Evaluation  Follow this link if you are already a Wayne State graduate student and would like to enroll.  Choose the Spring/Summer list of classes and then register for TED 7800.

A graduate guest application is appropriate if you are currently pursuing a graduate degree at an institution other than Wayne State University.  If accepted, this type of admission is valid for one term and allows you to transfer that one semester of WSU graduate coursework back to your home institution.  After your guest application is accepted, you can choose the Spring/Summer list of classes and then register for TED 7800 (the Institute) through this link.

A graduate non-degree application would allow you to enroll in the Institute if you are not seeking to earn a degree.  This is the appropriate option if you are a practicing teacher or other educator and are pursuing renewal of your professional certificate, but have no intention of pursuing a degree.  You would be admitted to the College of Education, but not to an individual program or major. If you are admitted, you may earn a maximum of nine credit hours, which can be spread out over two semesters. After your non-degree application is accepted, you can choose the Spring/Summer list of classes and register for TED 7800 (the Institute) through this link.


Tuition and fees for 3 WSU graduate credits (the Institute is 3 graduate credits) is $2057.20 for Michigan residents.  

Additional Questions?  
Please email Tom Pedroni at or call (313) 577-1730.

Flyer (click to enlarge)