Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thoughts on Teach for America

Thanks to Diane Ravitch on Twitter, I read this veteran teacher's cogent thoughts on Teach for America:

Like so many good ideas in education (charter schools in particular), what was once a good idea...has been co-opted for other purposes.

We are witnessing an attempted takeover of one of the last public institutions left in this country, one that is fundamental to the democratic ideal upon which this country was founded. While I believe that there is plenty of good intention in this attempt, the fact that it has been coupled with huge amounts of public money has distorted those good intentions, or perhaps done away with them all together.
 And this:
...the assertion that TFA teachers are better than either new teachers or veteran teachers doesn’t really pass muster at ground level either. Why aren’t parents in the ‘leafy suburban’ school districts crying out for those awesome TFA teachers? Knowing that this is anecdotal evidence, and so considering it as such, I can’t help but point out that new teachers in my school, with all the traditionally mandated training, student teaching, and for the most part Master’s Degrees and considerable other relevant experience, take a pounding in their first few years. One of the main reasons is precisely that they are new, and this job is really hard, and getting a degree and licensure is just the beginning of learning how to do it. And kids and parents know it.
 And he reminds us:
...if we examine the majority of American schools, minus the ones that contend with poverty, American schools stack up quite well against any other system in the world. And if you consider schools like the one I teach in, on the whole, schools like that beat the crap out of every other education system in the world, by a lot, using any measure you would care to use...
Worth a full read.

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