Transcript of Press Conference to Announce an Award of the National Endowment to the Humanities to the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
18 October 1978


Gerald N. Tirozzi, Superintendent of Schools

My name is Dr. Gerald Tirozzi. I am the Superintendent of Schools in New Haven, and I am here this afternoon to express my sincere gratitude to Yale University and members of our staff for putting together what I think is an outstanding program, and an excellent example of Yale-New Haven Public School cooperation in terms of meeting the specific needs of the New Haven Public School system. This grant will enable us to develop curricula in English, history, and art for the school system, and take advantage of the resources of Yale University, its professorial staff, and other resources. Again, I am indebted to this type of involvement on the part of Yale University and staff, and to Professor Giamatti President Giamatti now. We are delighted, and I commend Yale for its involvement, the City administration, Mayor Logue and his involvement, and my own staff, and I look forward to great things from this project.

A. Bartlett Giamatti, President of Yale University

About a year ago at this time, Jim Vivian approached me and asked if I would like to participate in the project which was called the Yale- New Haven Teachers Institute. And because I didn't know if I would have a summer job, (laughter) and because it seemed to me the kind of thing that I had done before through the Yale Summer High School program and I had taught in other forms, I was very interested and anxious in participating. Jim worked with people like me, with Professor Henry Turner, Chairman of the Department of History, with Professor Charles Davis, Professor of English and Chairman of Afro- American Studies, and other faculty, and developed this program, and I think it is a splendid thing, and I hope that it can continue. It seems to me that this is the kind of joint effort between the City and the University that we hope will become more frequent and productive in coming years. Yale's educational and human resources are the most essential contributions the University can make to the whole community in which we live. It is precisely the kind of effort that we wanted to make. It was the kind of involvement that I personally wanted to be able to have and then was in some sense denied the opportunity of having but one of the reasons that I wanted to be here today, to thank Dr. Tirozzi and the Mayor for their cooperation and help and to look forward to it in the future was because I do want to have some capacity to participate in this effort. Yale is going to be developing a whole series of programs in the summer under the leadership of Professor Charles Porter, who is the director of Yale's Summer Programs. This seems to me to be one of the most imaginative, innovative, interesting and I hope long ranging that we have and I hope is simply a harbinger of things to come.

Hon. Frank Logue, Mayor of New Haven

My name is Frank Logue. I work in the bank down at the corner. I am delighted to be here with you, Bart, with Gerry Tirozzi, and with Jim Vivian, and I want to express my special thanks to the National Endowment for the Humanities for making this imaginative grant. I think what this represents, this joint effort, is a combined activity that is in the mainstream of both our enterprises. There are people who would like Yale to do something to help the City, the City to do something to help Yale, which we would create out of whole cloth. The great thing about this joint effort is that it takes resources and skills that Yale has in the arts and the humanities and applies them to the highly direct and real problem of what is it you can do to take the young people who are in our public schools today and not only teach them, but maybe inspire them, maybe get to them in a way that excites them about learning. My own sense is that the best learning takes place when the student is not just responding but is excited about what he or she can do. I might say that what is true of being an elementary school student is also true of being a Yale student. So, I commend the National Endowment, the people on our own staff, the Board of Education and the people at Yale who have worked on this. And while it comes out of the mainstream of what Yale does and what the City does, my sense is that you can make a brand new kind of a contribution to help our kids to learn significant and profound things, and have a curriculum design that makes them eager to do that. To solve that very simple problem we have Jim Vivian here who is going to tell us how to do it.

James R. Vivian, Director, Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I would first like to recall those conversations that the President mentioned when we discussed his becoming an Institute faculty member and say that, although it was in a sense our loss when the Corporation elected him President of Yale, it was certainly also our gain and the gain of all of us who share a commitment to opening the resources of the University in ways that are beneficial to the City. Since 1970 Yale has assisted a number of New Haven teachers to develop new curricula for their public school courses. What distinguished the Teachers Institute from earlier programs is its scope and ambition. Teachers and the Public Schools administration have had a leading role in designing the Institute to cover three disciplines in the humanities and within each subject to serve a high percentage of middle and high school teachers. The Institute will provide major assistance to the Public Schools' curriculum planning. In the spirit of "mutual regard and collaboration," which President Giamatti encouraged in his Inaugural address, Yale and the Public Schools have made a notable commitment to the Institute, and at a time of fiscal stringency for both. During the next three years, Yale and the Schools will provide over half of the Institute's total budget of $660,000. With the $210,000 grant of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and if we can raise at least $45,000 in additional gifts which the National Endowment will match, the Institute will accept 60 teachers as Fellows in the coming year and 80 in each of the two following years. Through the 1978 Institute forty teachers became members of the Yale community and wrote new curricula which 3000 New Haven middle and high school students will study in this school year. By the end of three years all 9,100 secondary students in the Public Schools will take courses in which Institute curricula are presented. The great strength of Yale and the Schools is their teachers. Through the Institute Yale faculty and school teachers join as colleagues to prepare new curricula which will improve the teaching and learning of the humanities. There is no program like the Institute in any other American city. I hope that the Institute s success will show how fruitful such cooperation can be.

Logue

Question time.

Question:

Dr. Tirozzi, how do you hope this will benefit the New Haven Public School system?

Tirozzi

I'd like to essentially echo what Jim Vivian said. In the areas of English, social studies and art-of course we have curriculum in place-this will allow us to develop more detailed curriculum, hopefully more appropriate curriculum, and will allow us to call upon the resources of a major university with specialists in respective areas in English, the arts, and history to assist us in this endeavor. As Jim said, 9100 students have the potential to be affected by what we do in this endeavor; so I see it as a very positive step.

Question:

Dr. Tirozzi and Mr. Vivian, how much money is going to be available and who is going to get it?

Vivian

The total budget of the program over three years is $660,000. The National Endowment for the Humanities has provided a grant of $210,000 to be applied over 3 years, $70,000 in each year. The National Endowment will also match up to an additional $45,000 if we are able to raise gifts in that amount.

Question:

Dr. Tirozzi, will this amount be sufficient for the school system in New Haven?

Tirozzi

In terms of our planning with Yale personnel this amount will be sufficient. The New Haven Department of Education has also committed funds and supervisory and administrative resources to insure the success of the project.

Question:

The funding of this goes for three years. I guess no one knows what will happen then, but is there a commitment to continue this program as long as possible?

Giamatti

What one hopes is that this program that we've been developing and have developed, and now have funded will be a way of now demonstrating to other granting agencies the merit and the success of such enterprises and what we have to do is build on the success that we ve had and that I trust we re going to have, and be constantly looking. This is the way these things work. I think the NEH has made a splendid contribution. Mayor Logue said it best, one can't really be grateful enough to the National Endowment for the Humanities for the imagination and for the vision they ve had, and Duffy's had, in locating this effort in the City and the University in a joint way. It seems to me that one is committed now to continuing it. What that means is that one is committed to continuing to look for more resources, not because things have to cost more, but because things that are done well ought to prove themselves and be supported. And I would hope that those efforts to find more moneys will be a joint effort. They'd have to be, it seems to me, between the City and the University, precisely because that is the nature of the enterprise.

Question:

Dr. Tirozzi, are there enough teachers in the school system to handle this extra "burden"?

Tirozzi

Actually yes, over the three year period in a sense there are more than enough because with the number of teachers we have who potentially can be involved, some teachers will be involved more than once. So we will definitely, hopefully, be touching the largest percentage of our staff in the areas cited. I just want to add one important comment to what it can do for the school system. The City of New Haven has many major resources they call upon, Yale University being one. And in some respects I'm a selfish person. I m selfish because I think of the students in New Haven and the teachers in New Haven. This program is available only to New Haven students, New Haven teachers, New Haven administrators, and it s programs such as this that hopefully can make our school system even more attractive to be a part of and hopefully draw more people to come into cities because of the kind of involvement we can have with a major University like Yale University which is committed to working closely with the school system, as is evidenced by this endeavor. So I hope that this is step one in a variety of steps to strengthen that type of relationship.

Question:

Will Yale faculty indeed be teaching public school students and vice versa?

Tirozzi

Well, in this particular program that is not the goal; however, we do have a program with Yale where approximately thirty of our juniors and seniors in high school take courses at Yale University for credit, and those courses are taught by professors at Yale University and we're hoping to expand on that in the future.

Giamatti

This is essentially a program where, as the Mayor implied and Mr. Vivian implied, there is a collegial relationship among teachers, teachers in the New Haven school system, teachers in the Yale school system. Dr. Tirozzi and the Mayor have been very gracious, and I'm grateful for it, in saying what the involvement of the City and the University in this way will do for the City. Let me say that Yale University also benefits from this precisely in the way that Gerry said. In this way the University is able to keep in touch with the vital, major, cultural center in the east, New Haven, and help its young people become the kind of young people they want to be and, I hope, go to Yale, among other places. Yale has a very real stake in primary and secondary education in the United States of America and a very real stake particularly in this area because this is where one wants the young people who will be coming here to come from. So that the collegiality that one emphasizes in this is in no sense a polite phraseology. It s a very real collegiality. All the people who will be engaged in this program are teachers, and they ll be working together to develop curriculum which will enable students in various stages to become students at the other stages. That's going to be of a very great benefit when it works and how it works for the teachers and the students at all the levels.


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