Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Battles Rage On

Interesting discussion in Education Next on Teach for America. I am amazed that after 19 years there is still discussion on whether it is good for schools. Somehow the education establishment, in this case appropriately represented by Art Wise, always wants the change agent to show why the program is good.

But can anyone show me after 19 years the adverse affects of TFA on students. They have had an impact on close to 500,000 students - but I don't see a huge outcry from those students against TFA. Is it better to use a long term sub who does not have any training? The arguments used against TFA in the article say that the TFA teachers wouldn’t be hired if there wasn’t a shortage. In one instance, Art makes the point for TFA over other programs since they at least have had some preparation in teaching in an urban setting.

Seriously – that is the argument against TFA???

If there wasn’t a shortage, TFA, TNTP and ABCTE would not have been formed. If the Ed schools could meet the need and all of our K-12 schools, especially our rural and urban schools had great teachers, then we would all probably go out of business.

But they cannot address the need because college students today are not choosing to go into an ed school. NECES stats show that in 1972, 23% of all bachelor’s degrees were in education and today it is down to 7%.

We are in a different world today and K-12 schools have to adapt with new programs to help meet that need.

If I were Art Wise I would be more concerned with the fact that according to the latest 990 over at Guidestar, TFA has over $50M in assets and a budget of $55M each year to add 2,100 new teachers to the pipeline. That’s $26,000 per teacher which is not cheap.

Perhaps there are more cost effective ways to recruit and certify teachers (note: shameless plug)

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