Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The real reason the ed establishment has it out for Teach for America

Teach for America has been under recent attack by the education establishment. The ostensible reason for the criticism is that TFA teachers don't have the experience and professional training of veteran teachers whose jobs they sometimes take (TFA teachers are cheaper).

But what really galls the establishment is the fact that TFA teachers come into the classroom with only 5 weeks worth of training and do the job at least as well or better than the teachers who have gone through the professional equivalent of a lobotomy known as teachers college.

We go now to the Economist:
On September 10th a report for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the research arm of America's education department, suggested that TFA’s members excel at teaching maths (although older studies suggest they do no better than ordinary teachers at instructing children how to read). The report, which examined TFA members teaching maths in middle and high schools, found that the improved test scores of pupils were equivalent, on average, to an extra 2.6 months of school. Despite this seeming proof of TFA’s impact in classrooms, and its larger social mission, the organisation has many critics. Why? 
Says Connor Williams at the Daily Beast:
Why does alt cert attract such outsize attention? Because programs like TFA implicitly reveal the problem with the main core of U.S. teacher preparation. There’s substantial research showing that TFA teachers perform at least as well as traditionally trained teachers—and sometimes perform better.
No wonder teachers unions hate them. They show their members up. If TFA is not stopped, it could further reveal the travesty which is teacher certification in this country.

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