Why I hate Teach for America

Fuente original:

Why I Hate Teach for America

(Encontraréis una traducción hecha por San Google al final del artículo. Comentadme si no sirve para mucho y busco un momento para revisarla. Gracias)

By Anna on 8.23.2008

Like many English majors who have reached their senior year of college and are unsure of what kind of job they can get with that specialized B.A. in interwar period lesbian literature, five years ago I applied to both Teach for America (TFA) and the New York City Teaching Fellows (NYCTF). I was promptly rejected by both, but applied to NYCTF again the following year, this time checking the “yes, I would be interested in teaching education” and “yes, I would be interested in teaching mathematics even though I did not major in it” boxes.

Like magic, I was accepted into NYCTF’s “math immersion program,” which provided me with a whole two weeks of extra training in math before the seven weeks of “pre-service training” that all Teaching Fellows go through before the first day of school, and in September of 2005 I began my career as a high school math teacher. As a NYC Teaching Fellow I had to earn a masters degree in math education by attending night classes two to four times a week and during the summer. The cost of this degree was automatically deducted from my pay-check every two weeks and was then partially reimbursed by a $4725 Americorp grant (which, to my knowledge, is not a given for every cohort of Teaching Fellows, but was specific to certain cohorts).

At my school, a small public high school in Brooklyn, New York, well over half of the teachers at the school are Teaching Fellows, and, at least in the three years I have been at the school, the longest any of us has stayed (yet) is three years. A few of us are starting our fourth.

And this sucks for our students. I mean, it really, really sucks. It sucks to come back to school and have to have yet another first-year-teacher as a teacher. It sucks to have six different advisory teachers in four years (the case with my old advisory). It sucks to have no continuity from year to year. It sucks for the ninth grade math teacher you really liked to disappear by the time you are in eleventh grade and wanted to ask for some extra help before the PSATs. It sucks to slowly get the impression that teaching anywhere else, or doing anything else for a job is better than staying here and working with you. It sucks to get abandoned year after year after year by young, enthusiastic teachers who saw teaching in the inner city as something great to put on that law school application.

And I know that my generation (I’m 27) is very different from my parents’ generation, where, if you could, you stayed at the same company, the same firm, the same factory, for 30 years, and when you retired you got a gold watch and a pension. We are a generation of career changers. It’s normal to jump from one job to another these days. For one, the economy sometimes forces us to. Also, a lot of professional graduate programs (law schools and medical schools) like candidates that have some work experience, that are not straight out of undergraduate programs. Besides, we pride ourselves on being ecclectic, on having a wide range of experiences. We proudly put our Peace Corp experience on our resume.

But teaching is one of those careers that doesn’t lend itself to career switching. It’s one of those careers where the longer you do it, the better you get at it (though I’m sure there are limits to this, depending on the person). And, unlike, say, a job as a copy-editor or an architect or an art dealer, when you are a teacher it really matters that you be good at what you do, since there is no one to catch and correct your mistakes before they’ve poisoned your students’ learning experiences in some way or another. If it is your job to make sure that a bunch of six year olds learn basic reading skills, and you fail, you may have just seriously fucked some six year olds. Maybe most of them will catch up in the second grade, but maybe some wont (especially if their second grade teacher is also straight out of the pre-service training…). If it is your job to make sure a bunch of 19 year olds understand basic math concepts well enough to pass a high school exit exam, and you fail, some of those students might never go back and graduate.

I’m not saying any of this to overstate the importance of teachers in the lives or their students or to freakout any first, second, third, or fourth year teachers about their individual failures (myself, obviously, included). Every new (and veteran) teacher is allowed to make mistakes. Further, I’m not saying that teachers are obligated to stay forever in shitty work environments with principals and administration that treat them badly, or in careers that they don’t find satisfying. What I’m getting at is that there is something wrong with a system that floods poorly performing schools with inexperienced teachers who leave just as they are becoming experienced teachers.

Which is why I hate Teach for America.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big fan of the New York City Teaching Fellows either. I’m not defending NYCTF for it’s faults, which include provided precious little support and training for their new teachers as well as frightenly high turnover rates. According to a 2007 Village Voice article, by their fifth year teaching, less than fifty percent of Teaching Fellows remain from a given cohort. But at least in NYCTF the high turnover rate is seen as a failure. In TFA, the high turnover rate is designed as part of the program. TFA members are expected to leave teaching after their two-year commitment is up, those who continue to teach are seen as the exception.

TFA members are not required by Teach for America to pursue a masters in education (which, especially if you do not have an undergraduate degree in education is required to become permanently certified in most states), although some of the states where TFA has program sites require teachers to at least begin taking graduate courses as part of their alternative certification requirements. They don’t require teachers to take the steps to become permanently certified because there is no expectation that their teachers will stay in teaching once their two-year resume-building experience is over. How do I know? Because it’s on their website!

Educational inequality is our nation’s greatest injustice. You can change this.

The first three drop down tags at the top of the TFA website read, “What We Do,” “The Core Experience,” “After the Corps.” Teaching is not a career for this organization, it is an “experience.” You can write about it in your annual Christmas letter and show up your cousins who went straight to law school instead of differing for two years to work in the inner city. You now have some “cred” when talking about why No Child Left Behind sucks. Oh, and, of course, you can put it on your resume.

And TFA will help you make that resume! Just check out the “After the Corps” section of their website. It’s chock full of career services and options of what you can do after you’ve gotten tired of “closing the education gap.” They even have partnerships with various employers such as Morgan Stanley, Deloitte, JP Morgan, and Lehman Brothers, all of which allow TFA members to defer their high paying jobs as management consultants and financial analysts to teach for two years in the trenches of underachieving schools.

Still not convinced? Listen to how much those two years of teaching forever changed this TFA alumnus:

Looking back, I’m so glad I chose to teach before embarking on this next phase of my career. I developed skills that empowered me to excel beyond my peers in business school: organization, effective time management, dexterity in communication and public speaking, and the ability to think on my feet. The responsibilities I shouldered in the classroom prepared me like nothing else could for the challenges of management, communication, and intense focus that characterize my current position, where I conduct industry research, create financial models, identify industry trends, and explain their implications.

-Scott, an analyst at Lehman Brothers

Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t that what teaching is all about? Becoming a better financial analyst?

Let’s hear what Mitch, an assistant professor of biology, has to say about his “corps experience”:

In addition to these professional lessons, my two years as a corps member had a deep emotional impact on me. I experienced how a group of dedicated teachers committed to the success of their students can go a long way towards closing the achievement gap.

I’m sorry, but I just can’t accept this. Remember high school? It took most of us about four years, right? My point is that two years is a short time to be a teacher, to be part of a school community, to be a part of students’ lives. And as someone who has been at the same school for three years so far, I can guarantee that two years is not enough time to “go a long way towards closing the achievement gap,” no matter how dedicated the teachers are.

(As an aside, for a really smart article about why the Freedom Writers myth that all schools need is highly motivated teachers who are willing to martyr themselves for their students, check out this January, 2007 New York Times opinion piece, “Classroom Distinctions” by Tom Moore. The crux of it is here: Every day teachers are blamed for what the system they’re just a part of doesn’t provide: safe, adequately staffed schools with the highest expectations for all students. But that’s not something one maverick teacher, no matter how idealistic, perky or self-sacrificing, can accomplish.)

I started thinking about Teach for American after reading this article in the New York Times Magazine about rebuilding the New Orleans public school system. Although the article focuses on the proposed effects of structural changes that are being made in the way the school district is governed (with a shift toward privately run charter schools instead of a more centralized, top down school system), I couldn’t help but notice this casual sentence (amid other descriptions of preparations that are underway for the new school year): Two hundred and fifty Teach for America teachers, nearly all recent college graduates, had just arrived to complete preparations for their new positions in schools in the region. What struck me was how, this article, which discusses various strategies for rebuilding a failing school system and repeatedly reminds us how nothing can be fixed overnight, fails to address the inherant contradiction implied by inviting a huge number of teachers, the overwhelming majority of whom won’t be around in two years.

Where will those teachers be? According to TFA’s website, they will be fighting for educational equality from all sectors. Maybe one of the many TFA members that go to law school will one day sue the NYC public school system for not adequately serving its special education students. Maybe one of the post-TFA financial analysts at Deloitte will sway her boss to donate 100 computers to a school with no technology program. (My school, for the record, received such a donation through a partnership with a major financial company.) This is part of TFA’s strategy, and it is an interesting one. It’s very possible that some of those 250 two-year teachers will make major changes in the realm of education from outside the field.

But, in the meantime, those New Orleans students will be left with new teachers year after year, rolling their eyes as they watch 22 year old Brown-graduates try to keep it cool in front of a classroom of suspicious adolescents.

Is an enthusiastic, idealistic teacher better than a burnt-out teacher? A teacher who reads the newspaper in the front of the classroom? (Yes, this happens.) A racist teacher? Of course. I have seen first hand what those teachers have done at my school in two or three years, the way they have contributed to make the school run better, to make the school a more positive place in different ways.

And let me be clear. I’m not ragging on people who leave the teaching profession. It’s a difficult and often underpaid profession. I’m not ragging on people who apply to Teach for America because they genuinely want to improve education in this country. It’s a very noble and challenging calling, and I have respect for all teachers who are working hard within a fucked-up system. I don’t doubt that most of them felt very conflicted about leaving their schools and their students.

What I’m ragging on is the way Teach for American sends the message that it’s perfectly acceptable to teach the neediest students for two years and then leave, just when you’re reaching your stride, just when you can really start to become more effective.

So, I’ll leave with this, if you’re thinking of applying to Teach for America because you want to be a career teacher, don’t. There are many other alternative-certification programs that will help you get a masters degree (and will help you pay for it). And if you’re thinking of applying to Teach for America because you are interested in doing a service project for two years before starting a different career, don’t. There are many other Americorp-type programs that lend themselves better to that time of time-frame.

In low-income schools, what a lot of students are lacking is consistancy in many areas of their lives (financial insecurity, eviction, incarceration of friends, neighbors, and family members, shitty medical and dental care, reliable transportation, etc.). The least they could have is the knowledge that they will see the same teachers’ faces in the hallways in September that they saw in June.

Author: Anna has written 8 posts for this blog.

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73 Responses

  1. 1

    Loren 8.23.2008 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Right on, and well said. As a TFAer myself, most of the points you make have become infuriatingly clear to me over the past two years.

    TFA brings young, often incredibly privileged, enthusiastic teachers to come into schools feeling a self-righteous sense of martyrdom. We often end up fostering an expectation in our schools that a) all teachers should be able and willing to, for example, work for 15 hour days without demanding pay (which is fundamentally union busting, in the sense that many teachers who are veterans may have families or second jobs that prevent them from being able to put in that much time without pay), b) essentially “price out” veteran teachers, because new teachers come in being paid less than veteran teachers – which public schools and the public education system loves, and c) often end up becoming principals after only 2 or 3 years in teaching, over far more qualified veteran teachers who didn’t go through such “prestigious” programs.

    If TFA is truly trying to eradicate educational inequality, then you would think that the goal of TFA would be to phase out, or not be necessary anymore, at some point in the future. But think about it this way: does Goldman-Sachs usually partner with or invest in something that is going to go away anytime soon? Hell no.

    So… right on.

  2. 2

    AnonymousCoward 8.23.2008 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Maybe I’m misreading you, but it seems like you’re letting the perfect be the enemy of the good here.

    It seems like Teach For America is having a net positive impact on education, as you indicate here:

    Is an enthusiastic, idealistic teacher better than a burnt-out teacher? A teacher who reads the newspaper in the front of the classroom? (Yes, this happens.) A racist teacher? Of course. I have seen first hand what those teachers have done at my school in two or three years, the way they have contributed to make the school run better, to make the school a more positive place in different ways.

    If that’s the case, why scrap the program? Sure, it’s not perfect or ideal, but if World_with_Better_TFA > World_with_TFA > World_without_TFA, why is eliminating TFA a good idea?

  3. 3

    LeilaK 8.23.2008 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I have a million conflicting thoughts on this piece. I’m going into my second year teaching, with TFA. And a lot of the criticisms you have of them are correct. One major problem I have is that TFA is very purposely marketing itself to individuals who are “using” it to get into better law schools, get into Lehman Brothers, etc. Personally, I don’t think the long term solution is a good one, but I will say that I believe the number is 40% stay in education after their 2 year commitment – that’s hardly no one. My best mentor at my school last year was a TFA alum.

    On the the graduate classes? I had to take 15 hours to get my certification. And ya know what? The classes were TERRIBLE. They did not improve my teaching whatsoever. If they had, maybe I’d go on to get my masters. But they didn’t, and instead I’ll improve my teaching by doing professional development on my own time.

    But overall, your criticisms of TFA as a program are pretty valid.

    My bigger problem was this: you say you’re not ragging on teachers for leaving the field. But that’s basically what your entire opening was about. Instead of blaming teachers for not providing consistency, it’d be better to focus on what we can actually do to improve the profession.

    Me personally? I probably won’t stay in teaching. Why? Because I don’t have enough supplies for my students. Because standardized testing is ruining education. Because I’m expected to come early, stay late, and work on weekends, for crappy pay. Because I have 30 students when I’m supposed to have 22. Because its 10 times more stressful than any office job I’ve ever had. These are problems we need to fix on a more fundamental level, rather than just blaming teachings for leaving a terrible situation.

  4. 4

    LeilaK 8.23.2008 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Loren – right on with the union busting comment. One of my major problems with TFA.

  5. 5

    Anna 8.23.2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink *

    LeilaK,

    I can’t rag on individual teachers for leaving the profession. Too many of my friends have made this choice. I will probably make the same choice sometime in the next few years. (I can’t say at this point.) And your point about addressing the shitty conditions and pay in which teachers work as a way of stopping teacher turnover is SO important.

    But I cannot say that it doesn’t suck for students to have constant teacher turnover. It does suck. Without placing blame (on teachers, on principals, on TFA, on our generations attitude about “careers”), I can say that high teacher turnover is not good for students.

    And I find that taking high teacher turnover as a given the way that TFA does is really counterproductive to their stated goal of closing the educational gap.

    Oh, and just to clarify, my graduate classes were the worst glasses I’ve ever taken. The state of education graduate programs is abismal. I only mention the masters degree because more and more states require that career teachers (as opposed to two-year teachers) get a higher degree in education. Alternative certification programs that build this long-term certification into their program are clearly more interested in creating career teachers than TFA.

  6. 6

    LeilaK 8.23.2008 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m with you on high teacher turnover being a problem. My school probably lost 25% of our teachers last year. I just think it’s really important that we focus on the correct source of the problem any time we talk about it.

    Too often in education, everyone wants to blame us (the teachers), and I think we all need make sure we are counteracting that claim every chance we get.

  7. 7

    Tori 8.23.2008 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m a TFA alum who taught for three years, two in my placement school and one in a charter school. Now I work in education policy, in a job that is stimulating and fun and about 15 times less stressful than teaching was.

    I have plenty of problems with charter schools, many of which share the same philosophy as TFA: it’s ok to push your teachers to the brink of burnout, because the achievement gap needs to be closed, teachers’ needs be damned. This is completely unsustainable, which is I think one of many reasons why TFA is only a two-year commitment: no sane person would want to push themselves as hard as TFA asks teachers to push themselves for more than two years. TFA is built on a guilt trip: work yourself to the bone, because that’s the only way the achievement gap will close.

    On the other side of the spectrum are teachers like the ones I taught with who were not TFA teachers and who screamed at their kids relentlessly, showed them illegally downloaded Disney movies instead of teaching them, and basically ignored their lowest-performing kids. That was not ok with me, and one of the best parts of TFA is that it recruits a large group of teachers who believe that kind of shitty non-teaching does a horrible disservice to kids who need good teaching the most.

    So I think we need a middle way: dedicated teachers who will create real change in the classroom but will not let shitty teaching stand. It happens too often, and no one ever gets fired for it, because unions protect teachers no matter what they do (racism, sexual harassment…only 10 teachers got fired in New York last year).

    Honestly, the two-year thing is a recruitment problem. TFA wants to recruit people who otherwise would have gone to law school, so they make the commitment short. Some people who choose TFA over law school decide they love teaching, and become fantastic teachers. Would they have gone into teaching at all if TFA hadn’t been around? Probably not. So I give TFA a lot of credit for that. Does it mean some assholes go into teaching to pad their resume? Probably. But assholes go into teaching through regular-certification programs, too.

  8. 8

    Anna 8.23.2008 at 6:22 pm | Permalink *

    And I thought about one more thing about this issue of teachers leaving the profession.

    Although it’s a complicated issue, I can say that I don’t think people should go into teaching knowing that they will leave in two years. I don’t think it’s an ethical choice to make. As I said at the end of my post, for those who are interested in serving their community/country, there are other programs/internships/jobs that are more suited to a two year commitment than teaching in high needs schools.

    Did I know that before I became a teacher? No. I think I only saw the good side of coming in for two years (comparing myself to the newspaper-reading teacher). But having taught for a few years now, and seeing the effect that high teacher turnover has on my students and my school community in general (for example, as programmers and testing-coordinators and data specialists need to be trained from scratch every few years, and the tremendous time suck it is to attend hiring fairs looking for quality teachers to replace the ones that are leaving), I can say now that you shouldn’t go in planning to teach for only two years.

    Does that mean if you come in wanting to be a career teacher and find it to be soul-crushing and unrewarding work that you shouldn’t seek a career in which you feel more valued and productive? No. Of course you should leave.

    Does it mean that you should accept the shitty work conditions and stay at a school that is mismanaged? Of course not.

    Does it mean that if, after two, five, or fifteen years you decide you want to go to law school or medical school or write a novel or stay home and raise children that you should instead stay locked into your teaching career forever because it would be wrong to leave? No.

    But given that all of these reasons (and many others) cause teachers that intended to stay in teaching for a long time to leave the career, if you know you’re only in it for two years (and Yale Law has agreed to differ your acceptance), don’t add yourself to the legions of teachers who unexpectedly quit after a few years. Leave the space for someone who might have a chance of staying in the profession and really mastering their craft.

  9. 9

    Ryan 8.23.2008 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    As someone who had kind of a little nervous breakdown and ran away from Brooklyn rather than return for a second year of teaching, I fully endorse this article and the arguments therein.

    I may still put it on my law schools apps, though. Maybe not the nervous breakdown part.

  10. 10

    Ms. Fakename 8.23.2008 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    The education requirements are the reason schools can’t find people who really want to be teachers. And they don’t actually make teachers any better, since the curriculum is, without exception, awful. It’s the worst example of rent-seeking in modern America. RNs, who are largely responsible for keeping sick people alive can get certified in a two year, city college program. Teachers not only need bachelors degrees, but additional certification, or advanced degrees. It’s bothersome enough to keep good people out of the job, and the salary isn’t, and never will be, high enough to attract other people to take their places.

  11. 11

    Isabel 8.23.2008 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this post. I did an Americorps program in an elementary school this past year, and while I also went into it very idealistically, by the end of the year I did have a problem with a program that expects its members to stay for only a year (especially given the state of the training we did, and how much of that year was devoted to figuring things out a la learning to swim by being tossed in the Atlantic Ocean). At least our role in the school was very much “[insert name of program here]” and not just regular teachers; kids expected a new roster of us every year.

    I am planning to go into teaching after college–probably not lifetime (a lifetime is a long time) but hopefully for a good while–and while before I might have considered TFA, now I very much doubt I would apply, based on my experience with how impossible it is to get a handle even on the more low-key duties we had with minimal training. Plus, I’m sort of a dork and ed school looks fun. Heh.

  12. 12

    Isabel 8.23.2008 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    RNs, who are largely responsible for keeping sick people alive can get certified in a two year, city college program. Teachers not only need bachelors degrees, but additional certification, or advanced degrees.

    Ooh, quick add since this wasn’t up when I posted–even though I personally am looking forward to ed school, I do think it is absolutely ridiculous that teaching at LEAST elementary school requires like six years of schooling if you don’t major in education, and I do think that two-year teachers’ colleges should make a comeback. I’ve heard the arguments that teachers need to be “well-rounded” and the more you know the more you can help your kids, and I think they are sort of BS, since I think a lot of the most importance skills for teaching can’t be taught academically (some people have the constitution to be patient with small children; some people don’t) and I think people with those skills would be better additions to the teaching profession than someone with an Ivy League degree and a quick temper. Plus, grad school is expensive! Plus, with one year of college, after a year of interacting with children in an academic setting, I don’t really think my remaining three years of school (my school doesn’t have an education major) are going to make me a better teacher AT ALL. I’m looking forward to them, I’m sure I’ll learn a lot that I will be glad to have learned, but do I think American Protest Literature from Tom Paine to Tupac is going to help me out with a seven-year-old who won’t stop fighting or a ten-year-old who can barely read? Not a whit.

  13. 13

    Jennifer 8.23.2008 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for a really thoughtful and well-articulated post. Some of my research is on teacher turnover and it’s such a difficult issue to think through. On average, the percentage of people who leave teaching in their first few years is not all that much higher than other professions, which leads some people to want to say that this is just the normal churn of people seeking out jobs that are a good ‘fit’. But the averages mask huge variation across schools – the turnover rate is a LOT higher in schools with more kids who are low-income, non-white or have other special needs. One could argue that programs like TFA contribute to that high turnover; on the other hand, one could argue that without programs like TFA, it would be that much harder for those schools to find teachers to staff their classrooms. Loren is right on that the goal of TFA really ought to be not being needed anymore but schools are stuck between a rock and a hard place – it would be great if teaching were attractive enough a profession that we wouldn’t need programs like TFA but until it is, my impression is that there are a lot of schools who are way better off with TFA than without it.
    At the same time, I agree with you 100% that there is something just not quite right about going into teaching *intending* not to stay. I wonder whether there are other ways such people could help public schools without ultimately hurting them and still get the cache of TFA…

  14. 14

    Sara 8.23.2008 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    I agree with your criticisms, and I think many of the same ideas apply to VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), an Americorps program.

    I spent two years in VISTA in a rural area working to “eradicate poverty.” At the end of my service, I hadn’t solved poverty, but I had parlayed my experience into a fancy scholarship to graduate school.

    The most revealing aspect of my service was that the program did not allow any kind of political work – no lobbying, no driving people to the polls. I don’t think government workers should get involved in politics in that way (just think of how the Bush administration has politicized the Justice Department).

    But I did often wonder how much more effective I could have been had I helped poor people organize for real political gains, like an increase in the minimum wage or an expansion of food stamp benefits.

    Instead, I conducted service projects that only worked at the margins of poverty, like raising money to put new siding on one family’s house.

    Programs like Teach for America and VISTA channel bright, idealistic people into work that makes them spin their wheels, rather than into more radical action that might achieve real social change. And I think that’s the point.

    What if all the VISTA workers became hard-core anti-poverty and union organizers? What if all the brilliant people working for Teach for America quit teaching and organized for higher teacher pay and better curricula?

  15. 15

    exholt 8.23.2008 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Me personally? I probably won’t stay in teaching. Why? Because I don’t have enough supplies for my students. Because standardized testing is ruining education. Because I’m expected to come early, stay late, and work on weekends, for crappy pay. Because I have 30 students when I’m supposed to have 22. Because its 10 times more stressful than any office job I’ve ever had. These are problems we need to fix on a more fundamental level, rather than just blaming teachings for leaving a terrible situation.

    Those were the very reasons several college classmates who became teachers after getting their MEds and teaching certifications ended up leaving the teaching profession after 3 or less years. That and the great deal of disrespect* from students, parents, and from the educational bureaucracy that at best..does little/nothing to support new teachers and at worst…uses them as scapegoats for long-standing systemic problems which predated their arrival.

    Most of them ended up leaving psychologically and financially burned out as the starting pay did not begin to cover their basic living expenses…much less having to purchase many school supplies out of their pockets without reimbursement.

    * This included incidents of physical violence from students and parents.

    In addition to the suggestions to fix the way school systems recruit, pay, and support all teachers…..we also need to fundamentally change our cultural anti-intellectual attitudes which seem to encourage the degrading of the teaching profession among students and especially many parents.

    Oh, and just to clarify, my graduate classes were the worst glasses I’ve ever taken. The state of education graduate programs is abismal.

    Nearly everyone I’ve known who has gone through an MEd program…including those ranked in the top 5 has mentioned a feeling that those classes were not only bad, but were quite useless in helping them improve as good teachers.

    Some of them have also mentioned a stigma in being a graduate student in Education as grad students in other programs on the same campus often had the perception of them not being “as smart” because the admission requirements were perceived as far lower than other campus graduate programs.

    Heck, at one Ivy-level school where I happened to be visiting some acquaintances who were doing PhDs at their campuses’ Arts & Science division…they made many cracks about their campus’ Graduate School of Education and the supposedly “lower intelligence” of their students. When I attempted to challenge them on this, they shot back by asking how many of those ED students could match their astronomically high GPA, GRE scores, and CV. :roll:

  16. 16

    DavidSpade 8.23.2008 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    “Educational inequality is our nation’s greatest injustice.”

    Aren’t women out performing men on the SATs, taking more Advanced Placement classes, engaging in more extra-curriculars, graduating at higher rates and getting more college degrees?

  17. 17

    douglafem 8.23.2008 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    i’ve been lurking feministe since the beginning of the summer but never felt absolutely pressed to comment until today. your article really caught my attention and i hope you can share a little more insight!

    i’m a rising sophomore at college in philly, know a few recent alumni who have committed to TFA in the philly-camden area, and — looking ahead — think i may apply to TFA myself.

    i (very) recently completed an internship partnered with philadelphia freedom schools (PFS) and am in the process of completing a collaborative research paper based on my placement at PFS and various pedagogical practices. (i should be writing right now, actually, but google reader distracted me!)

    my partner and i are writing about cultural literacy and the role urban research universities/the academy can and should participate in correcting structural inequalities in their backyards. we believe that committed, *culturally literate* teachers and afrocentric/multicultural pedagogy in practice are beneficial to high-needs urban public schools. i’m an english and africana studies double major and most likely will apply to grad school as well, but i know i would want to partner any future academic work with an investment in the black community, especially through urban education — public scholarship/community engagement.

    i am a young woman of color who grew up in a similar position to poor and working-class urban students. i consider myself very lucky in my pursuit of post-secondary education and want very sincerely to use that good fortune to help correct inequities in my future. i’m not planning (at this moment) to become a career teacher.

    what are the better options for someone in my position?

  18. 18

    Renee 8.23.2008 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know what the answers are but I certainly do not believe that answer is to demonize teachers. The system is broken and teachers get no support. In the media you constantly hear about teachers that are not doing their jobs without examining the schools that are falling apart, and the lack of proper equipment. The issues seem to me to be more systemic. Teachers are expected to do more with less and this is not fair. The ones that are suffering are the kids. If a parent is not able to make up for the short fall in education the child will fall behind, never to catch up. After witnessing the work of my sons first year teacher…(God bless you Madame Melissa for your dedication and support) I have the utmost respect for teachers.

  19. 19

    Shelby 8.23.2008 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure if this is a baseless assumption, but TFA always just gave me that quasi-imperialist, “anti-racist white hero” coming in to save all the poor colored children kind of feeling.
    I agree with douglafem, a multicultural pedagogy and “cultural literacy” are imperative. The ideal would be to have a curriculum and administration that reflected that, but I think it would be immensely helpful to just have more “culturally literate”, anti-racist teachers.

    And again, there’s only so much teachers can do. Step too far outside of the white-washed education plan and you end up like Karen Salazar– fired for teaching students their own histories.

  20. 20

    ed u. cate 8.23.2008 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    I am an English teacher in a high school in Philadelphia, and I got there through the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows program. I have been frustrated with (some) TFAs that I have worked with in a way that I have not been frustrated with (most) Teaching Fellows, and I do believe I is about philosophy and the different demographics that the two organizations recruit.

    The Teaching Fellows seem to be more interested in ‘career changers,’ while TFA, as Anna suggests, build into their program a two-year-resume-experience-builder-justout-of-college kinda folk. In my experience, those in the Teaching Fellows, at least in my cohort, were folks that were at least 4 or 5 years out of college, most of which took a pay cut to do something ‘meaningful.’ That’s not to say that there aren’t lost of people who dropped out of the PTF program within a month of school starting, but it seems that those of us who are left are in it for the long haul. There was no indication in my presevice institue with PTF that I should think of this as anything as the begining of a long career working to close the achivement gap.

    i started in february, and i am not required to get an MEd, just my Certification. I am often frustrated by a lack of supplies, but I have an excellent principal who actually gives more of a shit about students than she does about NCLB and does a great job of finding the balance between these two forces.

    I am in a school that is NOT predominately TFAs or PTFs and has mostly ‘traditionally’ trained teachers who survived requirements of NCLB, so i think that have a different experience. In Philly, it seems that a lot of the NGOs have a lot of ‘alternatively educated teachers,’ and I am in a regular ol’ coprehensive high school. and in my education classes, that, mind you don’t suck, but i think it is because at my University, all of us Teaching Fellows are together and are interested in social justice, we have talked a lot about the deprofessionalization of puplic education and our potential culpability in that. and continue to be torn, torn, torn.

    but, at my high school, there are a few of us who identify as ‘lifers.’ and those of us who identify that way, are lifers in urban education, have no designs on busting out to the suburbs, and have a little phrase that keeps us going as much as it is not the best reflection of reality, and it is this:

    all you need is a piece of chalk and a dream. that keeps me going.

    oh, and that guy who now is the CEO in New Orleans, Paul Valles, just before he went there was the CEO of Philly, and he runs education like a business, rather than being in the business of education. which is sucky and doesn’t work, unless you are ultimately interested in the complete privatization of public education. but that is another conversation for another time.

    and Anna, I agree with you: there are plenty of ways to do a very meaningful service project, but fucking with a kids sense of dependability is not the way to do it.

    Anna, thank you for a fabulous piece.

  21. 21

    Suz 8.23.2008 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for publishing and putting into words all the issues I have with TFA as a program. I was dating a guy who was applying for TFA and was appalled by the materials they provided and their mission, coming from a line of good, dedicated teachers. The especially infuriating thing is how it cheapens teaching as a profession, that is you can go into TFA with no experience and you will go in and be a perfect teacher and suddenly the kids will be well-taught, in just two years!
    One of the biggest problems I see is that teachers simply are not paid enough for the work that they do; there is no economic incentive for staying at a job that requires so much out of you. You’ll see very few male teachers for this reason: they can’t be the primary income earner on a teacher’s job. Intelligent women stayed in teaching 80 years ago because there was no where else they could go. Now they can do TFA and move on to do Goldman Sachs or some other high-paying job.
    Also so many problems originate in the community that you simply can’t get rid of, even if you are the best damn teacher ever. If the child’s parent(s) aren’t supportive of education as a goal for their children, the children are far more likely not to do well. And how can you make a parent feed their children healthy foods? Make sure the children do their work? Or even provide a safe environment for their child? You can’t.
    Education’s brokenness exists at all levels of society, from the individual to the community to the national level and an individual acting as an individual can’t change that. The community must be willing to pass school budgets. The community must be wealthy enough to get money from property taxes. The community must encourage its students. With the current system of individual school districts of varying wealth, which gain their wealth from property taxes, education will continue to be a luxury of rich suburban residents. Inner city and rural students will continue to be penalized as they are excluded from the money ring of the suburbs.
    Teach for America is one more way to do the “White man’s burden” without actually burdening people to change their lives.

  22. 22

    Mike 8.23.2008 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    “I’m not saying any of this to overstate the importance of teachers in the lives or their students…”

    Well, that would be pretty much impossible. :-)

  23. 23

    Lizard 8.24.2008 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    A really interesting post—thanks.

    I’m too exhausted to craft a proper response, but since you mentioned the “Freedom Writers” myth, I do hope you’ve seen this outstanding send-up from Mad TV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVF-nirSq5s&feature=related

  24. 24

    DavidSpade 8.24.2008 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    The problem isn’t the teachers, but rather the sub-cultures they’re teaching in. From kindergarten to getting my BA I attended nothing but public schools in Alabama. But where I grew up there was a culture of education. In my hometown 1 in 13 people is an engineer, and in my particular area it was probably twice as concentrated. As you can imagine, in that type of environment education comes first. The teachers at my school were paid the same as the ones across town. But yet we easily out performed most private schools across the country.

    A lot of parents like to say they value education and they “get involved” but really their idea of getting involved is just bitching at teachers for stuff that isn’t the teacher’s fault. What they need to be doing is giving their 5 year olds math games to play instead of sitting them down in front of Barney or Grand Theft Auto. Parents need to stop being so concerned about whether their kids like them. They need to stop babying them and making sure that every moment of their lives is entertaining and just treat their children like the information-soaking sponges that they are. Young children find damned near everything interesting. A third grader ought to be able to play Sudoku or Towers of Hanoi, you just have to teach them the rules. By fifth grade, if your child is not an expert Mankala player, you have failed as a parent.

  25. 25

    Marksman2000 8.24.2008 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Anna, go back to school and get your M.L.S. As goofy as it sounds, there’s a drastic shortage of librarians in the United States. And, no, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to shuffle dusty books in a public library for the next 30 years. That M.L.S. can open all kinds of opportunities for you, but it’s within easy reach for anyone who’s graduating with a B.A. in English. Good luck!

  26. 26

    George 8.24.2008 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Hi,

    This is an excellent article. Thank you. Education is something we can all relate to, even if we cannot improve it first-hand like you. Perhaps you might find this video (I’m sure you’ve seen it already, though) inspirational http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4964296663335083307.

    best;

    g

  27. 27

    Isabel 8.24.2008 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    K, if anyone is reading this thread and has NOT clicked on Lizard’s link, and can watch videos, I seriously recommend you go and and click right now, because it’s hilarious. Yeah, I don’t usually like Mad TV either, but: this is good. Thanks, Lizard.

  28. 28

    Lizard 8.24.2008 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Lizard.

    You’re so welcome. It makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it.

  29. 29

    Jen 8.24.2008 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    And, unlike, say, a job as a copy-editor or an architect or an art dealer, when you are a teacher it really matters that you be good at what you do, since there is no one to catch and correct your mistakes before they’ve poisoned your students’ learning experiences in some way or another.

    Just wanted to say I’m a copyeditor working on a Sunday in my quiet, empty office, and this pissed me off. I know this isn’t at all relevant to your post, but I find it ridiculous that you would assume it doesn’t really matter that I be good at what I do. Thanks.

  30. 30

    urbanartiste 8.24.2008 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I briefly went back to grad school for education and after 2 semesters dropped out. It seems that TFA is a short term program implemented to get teachers into the classrooms of high need schools. Sort of program that makes the public believe someone is trying to do something to solve the teacher shortage problem in high need subjects and schools.

    I would bet that if teachers were paid what they deserve more people would stay in the profession. It is time we pay teachers like we care about the next generation rather than sports players and actors ridiculous amounts of money.

  31. 31

    exholt 8.24.2008 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    One of the biggest problems I see is that teachers simply are not paid enough for the work that they do; there is no economic incentive for staying at a job that requires so much out of you. You’ll see very few male teachers for this reason: they can’t be the primary income earner on a teacher’s job. Intelligent women stayed in teaching 80 years ago because there was no where else they could go. Now they can do TFA and move on to do Goldman Sachs or some other high-paying job.

    That along with the rank disrespect K-12 teachers receive from students, parents, the educational bureaucracy, and US society at large.

    Moreover, it is not only male students who don’t go into teaching, but IME….the vast majority of students who excelled academically in high school and college.

    Nearly everyone I knew from my public magnet high school’s graduating senior class were aspiring towards professions with higher pay and/or social status such as medical doctors, engineers, wall street bankers, lawyers, etc. No one I knew wanted to become a K-12 teacher…especially considering the crap we’ve received from some of them because they didn’t like to deal with bright students who aren’t afraid to question them along with seeing how the teachers have to deal with from the educational bureaucracy.

    Though my progressive radical-left leaning undergrad campus prized K-12 teaching as one of those progressive “noble professions”, it is more the exception than the rule.

    IME, there seems to be a common perception of many students at more mainstream colleges….especially those at the Ivy-level to dismiss the K-12 teaching profession either as a profession for an extreme minority of “bright, but deluded idealists/do-gooders”….or more commonly as the profession of last resort for marginal/mediocre performing students. The latter perception feeds into the dismissive attitudes many non-Grad Ed school students have of Education grad students “not being at their intellectual level”.

  32. 32

    exholt 8.24.2008 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Argh…forgot to add the :roll: at the end of the last sentence. :roll:

    I think people with those skills would be better additions to the teaching profession than someone with an Ivy League degree and a quick temper.

    And/or someone with a 4.0 GPA who is a complete jackass in the classroom.

    Moreover, as someone who has taken a few courses at an Ivy alongside their undergrad and grad students……there are plenty of idiots there too……just look at our esteemed Ivy educated Prez…..

  33. 33

    Mike 8.24.2008 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    @ exholt: “Ivy educated” may be overstating things. Yale can be blamed for many things, including admitting and graduating the sonofabitch, but I’d wager they were entirely unsuccessful at “educating” him (if that’s even on the program for legacies of the rich and powerful).

  34. 34

    NoFluZone 8.24.2008 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m a copy editor (no hyphen, please) who left my career as a teacher because I had this unbelievable desire to pay the rent AND eat in the same month. (And not be blamed for all the problems of today’s youth.) You know what I spend a lot of time copyediting (one word as a verb)? Textbooks for student teachers. So, while you might think my job isn’t as noble or as important as teaching, without me, you’d be learning how to do your job with some seriously illiterate gibberish. If only you could see the raw manuscripts that cross my desk. Be careful when you say teaching (or any job) is more worthy than any other. You’d be surprised at the interconnectedness of many professions.

  35. 35

    Diamante 8.24.2008 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    As a seventh year teacher returning to school next week, I say “Right On!”

    I didn’t enter teaching via TFA, but I was still unprepared. Seven years later, I understand completely your quote “The crux of it is here: Every day teachers are blamed for what the system they’re just a part of doesn’t provide: safe, adequately staffed schools with the highest expectations for all students. But that’s not something one maverick teacher, no matter how idealistic, perky or self-sacrificing, can accomplish.”

    Thanks for the link to Moore’s NYT article too.

    Thank you for a great article and insight.

  36. 36

    Gabriele 8.24.2008 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I had a few responses to missing information in your piece. First, turnover is not as high as you state. (And you really provided no data on what that turnover was, except for the NYCTF). Over 60 percent of Teach for America alumni stay in education whether it’s teaching, advocating for change, or another related area. 60 percent! In comparison, almost 30 percent of beginning teachers leave after five years. Second, just because they leave after two years does not make them less effective. Actually, an Urban Institute study found that Teach for America teachers are three times as successful as regular teachers with three years of experience, as measured by end-of-year test scores; the difference is most significant in math.

    I really find it difficult to believe that people enter Teach for America thinking of those two years as a resume builder. Teach for America corps members work their butts off for two years; it’s really not something to be taken lightly.

  37. 37

    Isabel 8.24.2008 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    exholt: heh, I attend an Ivy, trust me, I am WELL aware of the lack of guarantees that go along with that particular qualification (Random People: “You go to [Ivy]? Wow, you must be SMART!” Me, outside: “[awkward smile]” Me, inside: “Eh, not necessarily.”)

  38. 38

    Law Prof 8.24.2008 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    What an amazing, thoughtful post about a tough subject. I agree with so much that has been said here (between the post and the comments), but just wanted to add one thing. I’ve been on a law school admissions commitee (well, a couple of them). TFA alum are a dime a dozen. Some are really interesting people who have done or written or said things that made me and my co-committee members enthusiastic about them as prospective students. Some are obvious resume padders. A TFA experience, alone, has never once influenced me to recommend admission of an applicant.

  39. 39

    Sarah 8.24.2008 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this post! As a Teach for America alum (I taught for three years, in two different TFA regions, before moving into a different education-related job), and as someone who comes from a family of career public-school teachers, I have huge issues with the organization. I was particularly disturbed by the constant exhortations that new corps members “change things” in their schools without taking the time to gain a true understanding of school politics or of the craft of teaching. By providing a steady influx of enthusiastic newbies, Teach for America provides a convenient band-aid for school districts that are struggling, and prevents these districts, and the communities that fund them, from having to improve working conditions in schools and increase salaries for experienced teachers.

  40. 40

    Anna 8.24.2008 at 11:51 pm | Permalink *

    Re: comments 29 and 34.

    I really meant no disrespect to copy-editors, or architects, or art dealers. I have friends that fall into all three categories, and I have tremendous respect for their work, and for the skill-sets that they possess (and I do not).

    Copy-editors, in particular, have saved my ass in the past, and no doubt will countless times in the future. I am tremendously grateful. I simply do not possess the discipline and attention to detail needed for that job.

    My only point, was that in many jobs (and perhaps copy-editing is not one of them–I picked it from among the jobs that non-teacher peers of mine have), I think people are expected to go through a period of “training”, or, at the very least, a period during which you are considered “the newbie” and perhaps given more leeway than more experienced colleagues.

    I haven’t found this to be the case in teaching. If I’m a bad teacher for my first year (and who wasn’t, really?), that’s a whole class of students whose geometry teacher was awful. And given the structure of my small public school (in which social promotion is a “necesity” given our size and resources), that’s a class they’ll never get to take again, except maybe in summer school. I fucked them by being a bad teacher my first year. Could it have been avoided? Maybe not. Maybe everyone needs to crash and burn a little their first year. But ideally, students get a first year teacher once in a blue moon, not three of their five academic teachers every other year, which is a reality in many low-performing schools.

  41. 41

    Jay 8.25.2008 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    I appreciate your comments. You bring up some excellent points, but I think you may be missing a couple of very important things.

    Much of your criticism is based on the incorrect assumption that hiring a TFA member makes non-TFA teachers and their schools worse off. This is incorrect. In the school districts that TFA serves, there is not a plethora of experienced and exceptional veteran teachers standing in line but losing jobs to Ivy-educated, inexperienced hotshots right out of college. These school districts form partnerships with TFA because it offers a pipeline of bright, hard-working, and creative people eager to take jobs that cannot be filled by other more traditional teacher staffing methods. This is seen clearly when a TFA member decides he or she cannot hack it and quits. A highly qualified veteran teacher does not immediately step in to replace them. Often times the students are divided among other classrooms- lessening the instructional quality available for everyone.

    I recently finished my two-year commitment in one of the newer Teach For America sites. During a TFA meeting the new superintendent of the district came to speak. He mentioned a recent meeting he had with the principals of the district’s underperforming schools. When asked for the number one thing they needed to improve – they asked for more TFA teachers. A few weeks later a large sum of money was donated to the district with the stipulation that the superintendent must use it in the way that he felt would most improve the city’s achievement gap. He gave the money to Teach For America. Over 90% of principals in the district say they would hire TFA members again- and over 90% admit TFA teachers are better prepared than other first year teachers.

    Fixing the many problems in public education is not an easy task, and of course Teach For America is only one part of solving the problem- but its impact cannot be dismissed. The first priority must be the students served by our school districts. We can only hope to have the highest level of instruction available to all children at all times. If a TFA member can offer great service to his or her students for two years, isn’t that better than not having them at all? Veteran teachers are wonderful and have often finely tuned their craft- but experience alone does not deliver results. If TFA can continue to recruit and train excellent teachers to replace those that leave- no child is being left behind by TFA members pursuing other careers.

    Of course not all TFA teachers excel, and many struggle or even quit. The fact is more succeed than don’t, which is the reason schools continue to hire TFA teachers. It is also certainly true that many leave the classroom after two years. As long as they have given their students better instruction than had they not been there- the children are better off. While many go leave for graduate school or more lucrative careers, you cannot discount those that continue to donate time and energy to the educational movement. Having a network of thousands of successful doctors, lawyers, and investment bankers that both understand and care about the achievement gap should not be viewed negatively.

    Teach For America is imperfect and not designed to replace other methods of training and placing teachers. It does, however, offer wonderfully bright, creative, and successful young people to help fix the problem both during their two-year commitment and beyond. I believe both the students and the schools they serve are better off by having them.

  42. 42

    Math Chique 8.25.2008 at 3:48 am | Permalink

    Thank you Anna. Great article. I referred to it in my blog, Math Me Thinks.

  43. 43

    Kacie Versaci 8.25.2008 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    As a TFAer about to start my first day of school, I am quite bothered by this post. Trust me, I am not one of those rah-rah TFA types…I think the program is flawed in many ways. But I have met tons of incredible people who are far from the “privileged resume boosters” that you and many of the commenters are talking about. And I see it this way–even if you are just here to boost your resume, TFA rides your ass so much you will make a difference. And as far as I’m concerned, the outcome here is more important than the intent. And in my region (Eastern North Carolina) the retention rate is something like 75-80%. A lot of the people in my year want to stay on for 5 years, at least.

    It seems to me this is horrible case of you judging a huge group of people, who instead of tooling around after college, traveling or working some job they hate, are trying to help children. And I expect better on Feministe.

    I joined TFA because my region has one of the highest AIDS and Rape rates of any county in the country. I joined to help and work with young girls. And no, I don’t want to be a financial analyst or a corporate lawyer after this. I want to be social workers and (gasp!) still work with children and women.

    Please, get off your high horse and actually talk to some TFAers. You are blaming the wrong people here–and just for the record, TFA and its members don’t turn around blame seasoned teachers or other teaching fellows either.

  44. 44

    Sailorman 8.25.2008 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    TFA is definitely of the “half a loaf” variety. But that said, the adage holds true: half a loaf IS better than none, isn’t it?

    I mean shit, we have hard enough time getting teachers as is. And we have an even harder time getting them to work in many of the schools that TFA supports. Now you want to guilt people out by telling them they should make a fucking ten year commitment? Christ. Talk about the quickest way in history to lose more teachers.

    “same pay, but you suck if you won’t stay for a while!”

    Because

    What I’m ragging on is the way Teach for American sends the message that it’s perfectly acceptable to teach the neediest students for two years and then leave, just when you’re reaching your stride, just when you can really start to become more effective.

    It IS acceptable. Just like it is acceptable for me to give some money to charity (but not as much as some would like), or to do a certain amount of public service (but not as much as some) and so on.

  45. 45

    [...] a recent rant by an NYC Teaching Fellows alum kind of sums all that up. These are just Lehman Brothers-bound rich kids slumming it for a couple of years to get “job [...]

  46. 46

    Kacie Versaci 8.25.2008 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Is there a reason my comment is caught in the moderation queue? I’d like to hear a response to it.

    Because after my day today, my day from hell, if *this* is what trust-fund babies do in order for good job experience, someone should give them a nobel peace prize anyway, cuz I’ll be damned if this wasn’t the worst day of my life…and I’m here for the right reasons.
    Christ.

  47. 47

    Education Maze 8.25.2008 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Teach For America is not perfect, and as a new corps member about to enter the classroom I recognize that. Many of the critiques of the program are quite valid, but the problem is that many educators take their issues with TFA and apply them to the teachers they meet. As a new teacher with TFA I plan to stay in the classroom for years to come, so I might be an exception to the rule, but I know that when I enter the classroom I don’t want people judging me based on the program that is helping to put me there. I want to be judged based on my own teaching abilities and willingness to learn. All TFA teachers are different, and I’m sure there are some that aren’t interested in unions and those who don’t seek out the advice of veteran teachers, but like each student, don’t we deserve to be treated as individuals and not TFA stamped and manufactured teachers?

    70% of TFA corps members stay in education or education related fields, and while yes, that still means there is a high teacher turn over rate I know that I am not a statistic, and that my commitment is more than just to TFA. My commitment is to my school and most of all to my students.

  48. 48

    Anna 8.25.2008 at 6:35 pm | Permalink *

    OK. A couple of things.

    Regarding retention/turnover rates, if people can cite where the rates they are quoting are coming from, that would be great, because I have found many different rates quoted in different places on the internet (including on TFA’s own website).

    As I said already, I became a teacher through an alternative certification program that also has a high turnover rate. Although I would be thrilled to know that more and more TFAers (and other alternatively certified teachers) are staying in education for longer, my main point remains the same, that it is irresponsible for TFA to set the tone that it is OK to only teach for two years.

    It seems to me this is horrible case of you judging a huge group of people, who instead of tooling around after college, traveling or working some job they hate, are trying to help children… Please, get off your high horse and actually talk to some TFAers. You are blaming the wrong people here

    Let me state for the record that I am not trying to trash people who join TFA, I’m not trying to say the people who join NYCTF or other alternative programs are “better” than people who join TFA. As I said at the beginning of my post, I originally applied to both programs, was rejected by TFA, but would have been thrilled to be accepted and perhaps have moved to a new part of the country (as opposed to staying in New York, where I have lived on and off since 1994). I have a tremendous amount of respect for all teachers, and I admire the idealism and the hard work that it takes to be a TFA teacher (or any first year teacher), especially when you are just stepping into the classroom for the first time.

    I’m not “blaming” TFA members. I’m criticizing a part of TFA’s model. Specifically, I’m criticizing the part of TFA’s model that has institutionalized the idea that teaching for two years is an acceptable commitment to teaching, since I believe it is not.

    I’m not on any high horse, either. For a variety of personal and professional reasons, I highly suspect that I will leave teaching at my school after the end of this school year (after I have seen my advisory class graduate). I don’t blame teachers for leaving an incredibly challenging and underpaid profession, or for leaving poorly managed schools or schools where they are not valued. What I’m criticizing here is a system that caters to those people that know they only want to teach for two years before switching over to their true calling as financial analysts.

    And because a lot of people’s comments seem to suggest that they think that I am advocating disbanding TFA, let me clarify that I am not. I am well aware that there are huge teacher-shortages (especially in math, science, and special education) in many areas of the country and through my experiences on my school’s hiring committee, I am aware that of the candidates who are interested in applying to my school, the best are often NYC Teaching Fellows and other first year teachers (rather than experienced teachers). Let’s face it, most of the quality, experienced teachers want to teach in the suburbs where they get paid more, have better resources, more beautiful school buildings, a parking lot, parents with the the time and resources to be more involved, and a bunch of other perks. I recognize that TFA puts teachers, even if they just stay for two years, into classrooms where sometimes there are no other teachers. That’s a positive thing. (And thanks to commentor #2, who used that phrase, “letting the perfect be the enemy of the good”, which I had never heard before and which is really smart.)

    What I am advocating is that TFA transform itself into an organization that supports teachers in choosing to stay in the profession. Rather than build partnerships with Morgan Stanley in which TFA members can defer their high paying job for two years, complete with summer internships at Morgan Stanley, thus creating accomodations specifically for those teachers who are 100% sure they aren’t making a serious commitment to the profession, why not do more to recruit those who have a stated long-term interest in education? With their 14% acceptance rate in 2008, I think they can afford to attract fewer applicants in exchange for longer commitment.

    TFA’s School Leadership Initiative is a great example of a TFA program that is trying to encourage its members to stay in education in leadership positions. But this is at the bottom of the list of topics in their “After the Corps” section. Why not transfer their emphasis away from attracting two-year teachers and catering to their law, medical, and business school needs, and do more to foster a greater long-term commitment to education?

  49. 49

    Kacie Versaci 8.25.2008 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    I was more responding to the people calling us privileged, Lehman Brothers Brats.

    Of which many of us are not.

  50. 50

    Kacie Versaci 8.25.2008 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and my retention rates come directly from my regional office paper work and such (Eastern North Carolina) but for all you know it’s made up.

  51. 51

    Selby Chu 8.26.2008 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    As an undergraduate student at CUNY Hunter considering application to TFA (as well as medical school), I found this post to be very thoughtful and informative. I am, undoubtedly, less knowledgeable than many of the commenters before me regarding teaching, but I feel the need to lay out just a couple of my own thoughts here.

    While TFA does promote teaching as more of a 2-year experience, which can certainly be viewed as irresponsible, it seems to me that the main goal of the program is, as you stated, largely attracting those who will defer to a higher-paying opportunity. But this doesn’t seem to me to be as great a tragedy as you make it out to be. Teacher turnover rates are absolutely crucial, and understandably hinder student performance and progress, but in the case of many of these low-income schools, a fresh-out-of-undergrad teacher is better than none at all. Your main argument also deals with the focus of TFA and its improper target of participants who will knowingly be transferring to other professions, but you point out that there are plenty of alternative programs out there for aspiring lifetime teachers. So it would appear to me that TFA is just another one of these programs, albeit with a different purpose in mind. One that hopes to enact widespread, systemic change through potential industry leaders. Many TFA’ers come out with a greater sense of responsibility, and most certainly with a better understanding of the dire situation our education system is in. These 2-year teachers may be happier in another field, but why does that necessarily require them to be deprived of an experience that seeks to educate them about education. Aren’t we all more productive and efficient when we are doing what we love most?

    In my case, I am a prospective medical student, but I also think that I can help in some way, shape, or form to deal with this education crisis. I am only interested in the sciences today through the handful of amazing teachers I’ve come across. And maybe I can have that same impact on some of the students in these areas. Yes, I can see that the idea of teaching being an “experience”, and the 2-year turnover as a disservice to many of the students of these TFA’ers, but the problem is also greater than the teachers themselves, and can only see progress if the infrastructure itself is improved. So why not give these possible med, law, and business students a chance to have an empathetic view of teachers? If these Ivy-league grads are truly the future leaders, then I also believe that exposing them to the horrors of low-income schools can produce a launch pad for greater change as true awareness amongst them spreads. TFA is not a panacea for all high-need schools, nor will it seek to cater to those who are looking at becoming lifetime teachers. Because, as many here have pointed out, the real problem lies in the system, and while having more dedicated, passionate teachers in these schools will help tremendously, it doesn’t overshadow the greater issue at hand. I don’t believe TFA is perfect, but I do feel that they are working to provide enough industry leaders with education on their minds to become an effective system-changer, not the convenient “band-aid” some of you claim it to be.

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    JuliaG 8.26.2008 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Great post! At risk children deserve much better than to be treated as stopping grounds for individuals who wish to make better connections, are lost in a slumped economy, or who want to give their conscience a massage.

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    Billy 8.26.2008 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Rock on. I am a first-year teaching artist in NYC and have been struggling with a lot of these same issues. What I like about our program is that it is set up to help artists and youth. It is part-time. So it doesn’t have the same weird pre-professional, future super-earners, slum it up for a year before making it big feeling. But I find myself at a place now, after less than a year, where I have adjusted all my other career goals and thinking about the future because I know my students, specifically my les, gay, bi and trans students would be really let down if I left after doing a lot of LGBT organizing at the school last year.

    Also, so many of my students like being around me. I don’t pretend to know what it is. And I really don’t have that favorite teacher personality or anything, I am pretty quiet. I just bring in snacks and cool stuff to make art with at lunch time or after school. I let them talk a lot about themselves. One student even asked me if I was that ‘therapy class teacher,’ I said, “No, I teach digital photography.” They will spend two hours after school in my classroom talking and collaging or talking and doing whatever on the computer, then I literally have to kick them out so that I can leave. I have a suspicion that they feel invisible.

    I also feel bad for the other teachers. Math, history, physics are all really cool things too, but they have so much BS and red tape they have to go through. It cannot be fun teaching for the regents. I sometimes feel guilty about this sweet deal I get where we just hang out, eat, make art, and interact with young people.

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    Kacie Versaci 8.26.2008 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Great post! At risk children deserve much better than to be treated as stopping grounds for individuals who wish to make better connections, are lost in a slumped economy, or who want to give their conscience a massage.

    Um….again this assumptions made about the INTENT of those who do TFA ( I am most certainly not teaching to give my “conscience a massage”) is really ignorant and biased. NONE OF YOU know WHY anyone is doing this program UNLESS they have EXPLICITLY spelled it OUT for you. And EVEN if their intent is to defer a higher paying career, that does not make them an INEFFECTIVE teacher.

    I am getting really tired of everyone on this board assuming that all TFAers are selfish, spoiled kids. It takes a VERY selfless person to get in front of that classroom every day, deal with having to teach 11th graders how to read and 9th graders how to add, and then get lambasted for it by complete strangers. What have any of you done today to better the education system? I am willing to bet a number of you ARE teachers, but I have a hard time believing all of these critics are teaching in a decrepit school in the middle of nowhere (or in the heart of a huge city) having to break up fights all day, getting called a “mean white bitch” by a student for simply asking him to sit in his assigned seat (this happened to me on my first day) all while trying to catch up dozens of others in math in science who have been failed by the system. 10th graders who don’t know how to multiply. 9th graders who CANNOT WRITE THEIR OWN NAME.

    This is what it’s really about, folks. I am not sure what you think we “Lehman Brother’s Brats” and “trust fund babies with a conscience” do all day as part of Teach For America, but it isn’t sitting around on our asses, eating bon-bons and reading the Wall Street Journal. No, we are busting our asses on the front lines of the worst education systems in the nation, trying to pull miracles out of kids MOST people have given up on. We aren’t saints, but we sure aren’t dicking around, massaging our consciences.

    But really, even you want to believe the former, go head. If it makes you feel better about what YOU are doing (or aren’t, as the case may be) by all means, continue. Come talk to me when you get up every morning, are sick to your stomach with fear because a student threatened you, have to face his mom, answer to the principle, write up four kids for fighting in your classroom, and still try to teach the precious few who work hard, but still have very little in life since some of them have babies (at 15 and 16!) and can barely write a complete sentence. Then you can come talk to me. Tell me how I, and the other 94 of us in Eastern North Carolina, are just a bunch of rich, spoiled 22 year-olds looking for karma points and resume building. Because trust me, there are easier fucking ways to get there.

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    Nic 8.26.2008 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    “I’m criticizing a part of TFA’s model. Specifically, I’m criticizing the part of TFA’s model that has institutionalized the idea that teaching for two years is an acceptable commitment to teaching, since I believe it is not.”

    I am a NYCTF alum, and as far as I was told, 2 years is not the “acceptable commitment to teach”. I don’t know anyone who was serious about the program and who didn’t see this as a longer-term choice and expected to be there more than 2 years – I can’t think of any of my colleagues who saw the program as something “fun”, “interesting” or as a “resume building” option to do for just a few years. I and others in my classes looked at this as a long term decision, and many of us had to work very hard for this decision and it was not something that we took lightly. I also noticed that the few who were not as serious about the commitment to begin with, tended to all drop out before they were even placed in the classroom, and actually the program factors those types of situations in. Still, the intensity of the program is a pretty good way to ensure that only the genuinely serious stay on to be placed in the classroom. I know this is more my anecdotal reasons than anything else but….here’s what the NYCTF website has to say about retention rates for fellows:

    “Today, 87 percent of Fellows begin a second year of teaching, a higher rate than the national average, and nearly three-quarters teach a third year. These retention rates are noteworthy since Fellows teach in some of the hardest-to-staff schools in the city. Nearly half (49 percent) of all Fellows who start their first year continue into at least a fifth year in the classroom.”

    I would say that if this program can achieve higher than national averages for NYC schools, than it can be looked at as an improvement from even the traditional paths teachers follow into education.

    Obviously the programs are not perfect. But originally these programs were set up because cities were desperate for teachers as the situation they were facing was that 60% of new hires were lacking certification and they knew that states (at least NY) were soon going to be mandating that ONLY certified teachers be teaching in the schools. The schools were faced with the task of finding a realistic, fast, solution, and that is how these programs were started (at least in NYC that was the case).

    Quote from the website:
    “In 1999-2000, 15 percent of New York City’s public school teachers and 60 percent of all new hires lacked teacher certification. The New York City Teaching Fellows (NYCTF) program was created in 2000 to recruit, select, and train talented professionals from outside the field of education to teach in City schools that were struggling to find highly qualified teachers.”

    Also the reason why people leave are not always “I just don’t feel like teaching anymore” or “it’s too difficult”. Although, yes, I’m sure there are some. However, in my case, I was forced to leave because I became too ill to physically teach any more, I am now disabled and out of work. But I would to have given anything to have been able to continue teaching, but it was totally out of my control. Still, there are many reasons why teachers do not stay for 3, 5, 10, 50 years. The reasons are varied and diverse, however, a huge reason that teacher turnover is high, is not by any means a result that is just particular to the teaching fellow programs. As the statistics that I just quoted point out, the NYCTF retention rates are higher than the national averages. To me this indicates that the fundamental problem in teacher turnover lies NOT within the “fast-track” teaching programs, but elsewhere. I think it is pretty obvious that low salaries, poor support for new teachers (whether you are a fellow or not), testing constraints, slashing of budget and extracurricular programs, adversarial relationship between unions (principals vs. teachers), the lack of respect that teachers receive as professionals, unrealistic work load expectations (teachers are expected to do more and more with less and less), punitive measures taken towards schools that need help the most (NCLB), and a host of other issues are driving the high teacher turnover rates. The turnover rates seem to have everything to do with policy measures that are dictated by state and federal governments. And of course, as many teachers already know, whenever these policies are made, none of these politicians or businessmen ever bother to ask actual teachers.

    Something else I would like to point out, is that, as we all know, many teachers are women. (And we all know the issue with the wages and women can be very oppressive) Anyway, many teachers are not only women, but single women raising their own children…or I should say … were teachers. What I also had heard via, word of mouth is that some, especially those with dependents and whom are the only source of income, were being forced out of their teaching jobs because they were not able to support a family on a teachers salary. In fact, many teachers have been noticing that they cannot even afford to live in the same neighborhoods in which they teach, because of this. So wage issues, (not the TA programs) really can have a big affect on whether or not teacher’s families are able to support themselves and thus stay in the profession. It’s just one of many points, but I just thought it was worth pointing out.

    So, last point, to sum up, I guess I am a little offended by the narrow view of the teacher turnover situation, that it is the fault of fast track programs, because In my experience it actually has very little to do with the Teaching Fellow/TFA programs and very much has to do with policy. To me this is obvious, but perhaps some here have not been in the trenches long enough to have observed this. Still, I feel like just blaming teachers and fellowships is taking the easy way out of discussing these difficult problems. I notice that people would rather play the blame game, rather than offer and advocate for possible solutions, I guess it’s just easier that way since most people know little about the system and how it actually works (not that I know everything about everything, but I’m fairly educated on the issues)… Again, while the fellowship programs were not perfect, at least the they were a partial solution to a difficult problem and although they could always be improved upon, it is a far better solution than just complaining and leaving things as they are.

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    [...] August 27, 2008 · No Comments A blogger at Feministe writes: [...]

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    JuliaG 8.27.2008 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    “It takes a VERY selfless person to get in front of that classroom every day, deal with having to teach 11th graders how to read and 9th graders how to add, and then get lambasted for it by complete strangers. ”
    Welcome to my world.
    Only difference is, I paid for the educational preparation in order to do so and am not high tailing it out of there.
    Teachers who stay in the profession work their asses off and are “lambasted” on a daily basis.
    To add insult to injury, we see these stupid corporate based programs that decide that the best thing to do to an already broken system is send in people who have no training. Oh, yea, they’re the solution.
    If you really want some respect then stick around for a few years, get lambasted constantly for doing so, and still care about the kids.
    Then we can talk.
    Until then, say hi to Wendy Kopp and Goldman Sachs.

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    Sarah 8.27.2008 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Aw Kacie, as someone who has been through the hell that is first-year teaching in a shitty place, I promise it gets better… a little better, anyway. I don’t think Anne is implying that people ever choose to teach for purely selfish reasons, but the systemic and programmatic issues she raises are real.

    The structure of TFA’s recruitment and placement processes (limiting the power that applicants have to select their own placement regions, forming recruitment partnerships with non-education-related corporations, using promotional slogans like “Teach for 2 years…learn for a lifetime!”) exacerbate the turnover issues that already plague under-resourced schools.

    In response to some of the comments about teacher shortages– TFA explicitly states that the organizational mission is not about filling the teacher shortage, but about closing the achievement gap. Plugging passionate but inexperienced teachers into the schools where students need the most help doesn’t seem to be the best way to do this. Instead, what about creating a program that provides incentives and support for outstanding experienced teachers and administrators from well-performing districts who choose to relocate to high-need areas? That seems like a more effective (if more expensive) means of addressing the real needs of children and schools.

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    JuliaG 8.27.2008 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Hey, here’s an idea. Stop spewing nonsencial rhetoric about what TFA says and stay in the classroom for more than two years.
    What’s the problem?
    Scared to get your hands dirty for too long?
    Scared to struggle on a teacher’s salary for the rest of your life?
    Whimps!

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    Ellen 8.28.2008 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Whoa, there’s no need for name-calling.

    While I’m 100% on board with Anna’s post and think it’s a fantastic indictment of TFA’s marketing and basic philosophy, Katie Versaci is right that some of these comments represent ad hominem attacks on the individual people who choose to enter teaching through TFA. As Anna herself her reiterated, attacking individuals isn’t what this post is about, and isn’t the most productive way to approach reforming TFA and reforming teaching and education in general.

    I understand where you’re coming from, JuliaG. I also have some significant anger towards people who work for Goldman Sachs and make a ton of money. I went to a university where my fellow graduates were encouraged to apply to major corporations in finance, marketing, advertising, investments, etc. There was no critical discussion of the problems that these companies perpetuate and represent. There were weekly job fairs from, yes, Goldman Sachs & Co., but ZERO job fairs for nonprofit, grassroots, activist, or sustainable change organizations.

    If you think there is an ethical problem with the desire to earn more than a teacher’s salary — and I think that’s a very real possibility — there’s got to be a better way to articulate that than calling those folks wimps.

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    Ben 8.30.2008 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    Sadly, You’re missing the point about TFA.

    First of all, 2/3s stay in education in some capacity after their two year commitment. So to suggest that all TFAers bail after 2 years is unbelievably misleading. It’s worse than that — It’s a lie.

    TFA has launched a full-out attack on the achievement gap. Their battle plan is two pronged. One prong is the teachers’ impact in the classroom. This part of the plan is limited in scope because there are only so many corps members. You cannot eliminate the achievement gap with only a few thousand teachers in the classroom — logistically, TFA’s reach is limited by the size of the corps. Although, study after study suggest that TFA teachers outperform their colleagues.

    But the second prong is also very powerful — the TFA alumns who know the achievement gap intimately. TFA works methodically to place their alumns in positions to reform eduction. Their goals revolve around how many alumns hold leadership positions or become school board members, principals, elected officials, administrators. Not to mention those who do become investment bankers and lawyers who are able to contribute enormous capital and resources to the movement. And because TFA alumns are fanatical about high expectations for low-income students, and working relentlessly to achieve student results, these values permeate throughout the communities that TFA alumns share. The second prong of TFA’s moel for change is incredibly powerful.

    An enormous problem in teaching and education today is that there is a talent gap in the profession. Talented and well-trained teachers usually gravitate towards more attractive settings. They want to work where there are involved parents, safe surroundings and resources to teach effectively. Most do not end up in the neighborhoods that TFAers do. In many situations, there are teachers who are not nearly as committed as most TFAers and do not hold students to the same expectations. So, the bad teachers ususally end up in the least desirable classrooms in the country. That is simple supply and demand. Increasing the demand for some of the roughest classrooms in the country is a good thing for education in low-income communities. Attracting America’s best and brightest young people to solve this problem is incredibly important.

    I am in my second year as a corps member, and at the outset of my teaching career, had very little interest in being a teacher for more than two years. Now, I am consumed with leading my students, and will work relentlessly until we have reached our goals. I cannot imagine my life without working towards ending the achievement gap. Nearly every single one of my colleagues in TFA feel the same way. Hardly anyone is in it for whatever is next. My colleagues and I get up every day, work as hard as possible for our students all day, and plan four hours to do it again tomorrow. This grind has given so much meaning to my life. It is insulting to suggest that anyone would work this hard and become so emotionally invested in education reform, just to put it on a resume. That shows a profound lack of understanding for what our organization is all about.

    Education reform is the civil rights movement of our generation. Bemoaning thousands of smart, committed people who are working as hard as possible to right the injustice of the achievement gap is pathetic.

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    [...] members that Chancellor Potty Mouth intends to fire every career teacher and replace them with Teach for America zombies who have no intention of staying in teaching. It’s just union busting with a lot of [...]

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    mastap 9.17.2008 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Teaching is without a doubt one of those professions where the learning curve is steep and mistakes, like in any first year profession, take time to overcome. It is easy to bash an organization without truly taking the time to understand it. You are quick to point out that first year teachers struggle, and that placing them in under-resourced schools adds to the difficulties. That will be the case with any teacher no matter how well trained, rather as an education major right out of college, someone with a masters degree, a member of the Teaching Fellows, or someone from Teach For America. T he obstacles are across the board no matter where you teach, where you received your education, and whether or not you are affiliated with an organization.
    Teach For America is an organization looking to partner with teachers, educators, and administrators in bridging the nation’s most pervasive problem, not one looking to damage students. For those who are quick to criticize that it leaves poorly trained teachers in precarious situations, consider that most first year teachers face the same challenge. Teach For America, however, helps to fill a fundamental shortage of teachers in low income communities. Too often, even experienced teachers jettison underperforming schools for the suburbs. It is my understanding that Teach For America seeks to partner with Teaching Fellows, and those dedicated teachers (not to say those who leave are not committed) in servicing the lower income communities to the best of their abilities. Few if any first or second year teachers are as successful as they want to be, but every day the vast majority of Teach For America corps members show up with energy, enthusiasm, and attempting to use innovations or similar techniques as experienced teachers. Teach For America is a data-driven organization, which means it is constantly evolving, analyzing, and finding ways to better prepare its teachers to make an immediate impact, and although that is not always the case each year their corps members enter much more prepared.
    In response to your criticism that corps members often leave after beginning to become effective and after having a significant amount of time invested into training them, I cannot disagree entirely. However, I would like to point out several facts that you are quick to overlook. Over 60% of Teach For America’s alumni stay in education. A large number of these people may never have even considered teaching or education before being recruited by Teach For America. This creates a legion of devoted teachers who continue to learn and add to their schools after their two year commitment is complete.
    The purpose of debate and open public discourse is always to seek to share information and enlighten. I cannot deny that I am biased as a second year corps member teaching in the South Bronx. That being said, I cannot hide certain biases as well. However, as someone from part of the organization and who has undergone the training I can tell you that corps members deeply care about their students and are well aware that their failures as teachers affects much more than their pride, but the lives of their students. Few first year teachers are successful, but that does not mean that all Teach For America’s are unsuccessful. Over 30% achieve Significant Gains, a term reserved for building students’ reading levels by over 1.5 years or having the class master over 80% of their objectives. A greater percentage has Solid Gains in their students, which also seeks a strong movement forward in the academic ability of their students. Again, this does not mean all are successful, but a substantial portion are not screwing uptheir students’ lives.
    As mentioned, I am a second year corps member, and I am currently mulling the difficult decision of whether or not to continue teaching. This is not an easy choice, especially after seeing drastic improvements in my own craft only a week into my second year. Part of the tenet of the Teach For America mission is that the achievement gap is so persistent and widespread that it requires committed individuals in different sectors with direct knowledge of these challenges. Which teachers would not want to see people in finance, consulting, lawyers, nonprofit employees, and politicians, who shared their growing pains wanting to help them and supporting education? I know if I do not end up teaching (something that I did not consider before joining Teach For America) that my experiences will go with me in any profession, and I will do my part whether by giving time, mind power, networks, or financial support to help all teachers battling the achievement gap. The reality is that inner city schools need teachers. Teach For America provides that. Career teachers who are in the trenches could benefit from support outside of their schools and corps members and alumni are looking to provide this in the future. We are all in this together and should spend time trying to work together rather than criticize.
    I hope this helps provide more insight into the organization that you are quick to attack.

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    Enlightened 9.18.2008 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    TEACH FOR AMERICA CONDONES CHEATING…CHECK OUT ARTICLE
    http://www.nysun.com/new-york/high-test-scores-and-criticism-follow-a-south/80944/

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    Anon Y Mouse 9.19.2008 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Aww, yeah, I would be bitter too if I was condemned to a life of being a public school teacher in New York. I would also be bitter if I didn’t have the skill or tenacity of becoming an investment banker — after all, they are making 4+ times more than what a teacher makes every hour, but don’t have to deal with little savages.

    So imagine being able to teach for (arguably the hardest) first two years of teaching, to become financial analyst. It seems like those TfA’ers are moving up in the world, so I guess I would be mad too if I saw all these well educated grads surpassing you in their careers.

    At least you have job security as a blogger right?

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    Miss Marsh from Memphis 9.19.2008 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    1. You have some excellent points. You are absolutely right that it sucks that enthusiastic, skilled teachers at best, and warm bodies at worst tend to leave the classroom after two years at such a rate.
    2. Reasons teachers leaving isn’t apocalyptic:
    a) A sizeable chunk of TFA teachers would never have gotten into teaching without TFA. Regardless of when or if they leave, there are more passionate people in education because of TFA than without it.
    b) Even if they leave to pursue law school, business, med degrees or something directly outside education, these teachers can never look at a ballot or career decision involving education without their experience influencing it. (More people making reasoned, experienced decisions about education is never a bad thing).
    c) In my experience, a pretty big number of people who came in lured by the promise of “an experience” have ended up staying, unable to pass over the implications of broken school systems for the Lehman or Goldman-Sachs lives that their kids may never achieve in the current system.
    d) Depending on the exact year, region, etc somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of TFA folks stay involved directly in education or teaching. I struggled immensely deciding whether or not to leave my school but when it came down to it, I decided that I’m more skilled at working with adult administrations than with students. Therefore I see attaining a degree in Public Policy of MORE benefit to my students and the general public than me personally teaching. I can affect more people in a wider sphere when I really struggled and was worn down in the classroom, making me less than a much less than perfect teacher.

    As someone else said, why is perfect really the enemy of good?

    I don’t hope to have the whole answer, but even a program with admitted flaws like TFA is better than doing nothing. If you have a better idea, please bring it into the open, get it to policy makers and legislature, tell me and I’ll vote for it- god knows we need it.

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    John 9.21.2008 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Alright, I’m going to identify myself so that you understand where I’m coming from about this comment:

    I was raised by public school teachers and attended public schools K-12. Kentucky’s schools are actually pretty solid, and I was able to take several classes in Television-Production; I was a good student and I received a scholarship to a top private university to study film. During my undergraduate work, I decided I didn’t want to make a career on a set, that I DID want to go to law school, and that I needed to take some time beforehand to do something important while I had the time and energy.

    Enter Teach For America, an organization that I knew to be flawed but solid nonetheless; for the first time in my life, I felt like I could honestly endorse a non-profit because everything they do is so transparent. Your quips about the quotes on the website are somewhat amusing to me, as though it were a dirty secret that we try to convince people who wouldn’t otherwise be teachers to come and teach. Obviously that’s what we do, and I don’t think that an organization so honest about what it does–and in the public interest, at that–should be harangued.

    I am now teaching three self-contained 8th grade math classes at a middle school in the Bronx. I’m not a great teacher–I feel like I’m failing my 29 students each day–but every single administrator and teacher at my school has told me that I’m the best math teacher my kids have had. PERIOD.

    Also, I am not an anomaly within the system. The independent research shows that, regardless of the intangibles you discuss, students who have Teach For America corps members achieve AT LEAST as much as their peers in math and reading, even if the students have a veteran, fully certified teacher. http://www.teachforamerica.org/research/studies_student_outcomes.htm

    Yes, it is atrocious that a 22-year-old film major can be the best math teacher a 16-year-old overage student with a severe emotional disorder has ever had. Yes, it would be better if I didn’t “leave” my students after two years, but, if everything continues as planned, they’ll be GRADUATING FROM MIDDLE SCHOOL AND GOING ON TO A HIGH SCHOOL because they are being taught by three different Teach For America corps members. They won’t see me again next year because I’m doing my job now to make sure they are prepared for the next stage of their academic career. Obviously that isn’t always going to be the case–promotion doesn’t lead to a new school in every grade–but you sure are making a mountain out of a molehill when you look at the whole picture.

    This is the state of our current education system: last year, my boys had a woman who hadn’t taught or taken a class in math for more than 30 years, and the year before they had a string of “permanent substitutes.” At least I passed the AP Calculus test with a 5 within my students’ lifetimes. It sickens me to think that I am considered “qualified” to teach my kids, but I also know that my principal was not going to find a more “qualified” teacher willing to work in her school.

    Your entire post is based on the presumption that there are enough certified, effective teachers just WAITING to enter the field of education and take the jobs which are being stolen by Teach For America corps members. The simple fact is that if I hadn’t been convinced to teach in New York City by Teach For America, my eighth grade students would never have learned how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, let alone evaluate expressions with integral exponents like they did on Friday.

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    s 9.28.2008 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I notice that several people have talked about how hard teaching is. Some people also comment on the low pay, tough to navigate administrations, and how shamefully far behind students are in low income communities.

    Then there seems to be this rival between Kacie and JulieG about who is “tougher?” or cares more and who is willing to put up with more shit–as teaching is tough and Kacie might not want to deal with that shit for quite as long as JulieG?

    It seems apparent that you’re both working your asses off. I wonder, JulieG, if rather than telling people who weren’t going to go into the classroom in the first place (but who have the support of a national organization that is constantly striving for higher student achievement above all else) to STAY out all together, your job might actually benefit from them coming in. TFA isn’t in the business of taking jobs from good teachers. They’re in the business of both educating students and THEN reforming education. I mean…Ms. Marsh from Memphis says that she’s going to policy school after two years in the classroom. Wouldn’t you rather people making ed policy have some experience in the classroom than not?

    And wouldn’t you rather TFA tell her it’s OK to go in and make gains with students for two years (as indicated by the several studies cited in other posts) than NOT?

    Does it really threaten the profession for people to come in and start to respect the hell out teachers and then leave to go make it a little less difficult for teachers and students to be successful in the long run?

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    Alan J 10.9.2008 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    As a TFA corps member, I’ll admit TFA is far from perfect. Most TFA’ers will admit that. However, I feel like your criticisms ignore the realities of the situation. The fact is, there is a lack of supply of people who are willing to make a career of the often soul-sucking profession of urban teaching. TFA recognizes this, and instead of attempting to shoe-horn every potential corps member into the mold of career-teacher, their less-idealistic goal is to try to get 2 years of solid, dedicated work out of top-caliber student/leaders.

    I posit that the end result is that people who want to be urban teachers permanently will join TFA anyway, but that they are also attracting a large number of people to at the very least fill the gaps in the ranks of the national urban teacher corps. I should also add that it has been my experience in the Baltimore corps that a large emphasis actually is put on staying in Baltimore City classrooms beyond the 2 year commitment.

    The obscene turnover in urban teaching would be there with or without programs like TFA, and I believe it would be even worse without TFA. The problem isn’t TFA, the problem is the horrific lack of support and resources, as well is the incredible strain put on people who step into the profession.

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    [...] schedule but it doesn’t always work out so well. But I was recently directed to this fabulous article on feministe. And reading that really hit home with [...]

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    [...] They come from all backgrounds and majors and teach in these public schools for two years. Some critics think a two-year stint for an “untrained” teacher is a band-aid for a huge disease. But [...]

  72. 72

    [...] what the hell? Feminists don’t blog about work-life balance, affordable childcare, health, education, employment, or violence against women? Who the hell has this reporter been talking [...]

  73. 73

    [...] Teach For America (TFA) has seen significant success, it has many notable weaknesses as well. Based on this description of criteria, the Israel Teachers Corps seems vulnerable to these [...]

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Por qué odio a Teach for America
Por Anna el 08/23/2008

Al igual que muchos comandantes ingleses que han llegado a su último año de la universidad y no está seguro de qué tipo de trabajo que pueden conseguir con la licenciatura especializada en la literatura de entreguerras lesbianas período, hace cinco años me aplica tanto a Teach for America (TFA) y el New York Teaching Fellows (NYCTF). Que fue rechazada de inmediato por los dos, pero aplicado a NYCTF de nuevo al año siguiente, esta vez marcando la casilla “sí, yo estaría interesado en la enseñanza de la educación” y “sí, yo estaría interesado en la enseñanza de las matemáticas a pesar de que no es importante en “cajas.

Al igual que la magia, que fue aceptado en NYCTF del “programa de inmersión en las matemáticas”, que me dio con un total de dos semanas de formación adicional en matemáticas antes de las siete semanas de “pre-formación” que todos los becarios de la enseñanza para poder cerrar el primer día de clases , y en septiembre de 2005 comencé mi carrera como profesor de matemáticas en la escuela secundaria. Como Docente de Nueva York que tenía que obtener un título de maestría en enseñanza de las matemáticas, asistiendo a clases nocturnas de dos a cuatro veces a la semana y durante el verano. El costo de este grado se deducen automáticamente de mi cheque de pago cada dos semanas y fue luego parcialmente reembolsados por 4725 dólares de subvención Americorp (que, a mi entender, no es un dato para cada cohorte de becarios de la enseñanza, sino que era específico de ciertas cohortes ).

En mi escuela, una pequeña escuela pública en Brooklyn, Nueva York, más de la mitad de los profesores de la escuela está enseñando a los becarios, y, por lo menos en los tres años que he estado en la escuela, la más larga que cualquiera de nosotros se ha mantenido (todavía) es de tres años. Algunos de nosotros estamos empezando nuestro cuarto.

Y esto es una mierda para nuestros estudiantes. Quiero decir, realmente, es una mierda. Se aspira a volver a la escuela y tiene que tener otro de primer año y maestros como un maestro. Se aspira a tener seis diferentes profesores asesores en cuatro años (el caso de mi asesor de edad). Es un asco que no tienen la continuidad de año en año. Es un asco para la maestra de matemáticas de noveno que gustó mucho a desaparecer en el momento en que se encuentran en el undécimo grado y quería pedir un poco de ayuda extra antes de que los PSAT. Se aspira a llegar poco a poco la impresión de que la enseñanza de cualquier otro lugar, o hacer cualquier cosa para un trabajo es mejor que quedarse aquí y trabajar con usted. Se aspira a recibir el año abandonó tras año tras año por los profesores jóvenes y entusiastas que vieron la enseñanza en el centro urbano como algo grande para poner en que la aplicación la facultad de derecho.

Y sé que mi generación (tengo 27) es muy diferente de la generación de mis padres, donde, si se pudiera, se hospedó en la misma empresa, la misma empresa, la misma fábrica, durante 30 años, y cuando se jubiló tienes un reloj de oro y una pensión. Somos una generación de cambiadores de la carrera. Es normal pasar de un empleo a otro en estos días. Por un lado, la economía nos obliga a veces. Además, una gran cantidad de profesionales cursos de postgrado (colegios de abogados y escuelas de medicina) como los candidatos que tienen alguna experiencia de trabajo, que no son directamente de los programas de pregrado. Además, nos enorgullecemos de ser ecléctico, en tener una amplia gama de experiencias. Estamos orgullosos de poner nuestra experiencia de la Paz Corp en nuestro curriculum vitae.

Pero la enseñanza es una de esas carreras que no se prestan a cambio de carrera. Es una de esas carreras que cuanto más lo hagas, mejor te dan en ella (aunque estoy seguro de que hay límites a este, dependiendo de la persona). Y, a diferencia de, digamos, un trabajo como corrector de estilo o un arquitecto o de un comerciante de arte, cuando usted es un maestro que realmente importa que seas buena en lo que haces, ya que no hay nadie que pueda detectar y corregir los errores antes de que han envenenado sus experiencias de aprendizaje de los estudiantes de una manera u otra. Si es su trabajo para asegurarse de que un grupo de niños de seis años aprender las habilidades básicas de lectura, y no usted, es posible que acabamos seriamente jodido algunos seis años de edad. Tal vez la mayoría de ellos se pondrá al día en el segundo grado, pero tal vez algo de costumbre (sobre todo si su maestra de segundo grado es también directamente de la capacitación previa al servicio …). Si es su trabajo para asegurarse de que un grupo de 19 años de edad a comprender los conceptos básicos de matemáticas, así como para aprobar un examen de egreso de la preparatoria, y no usted, algunos de esos estudiantes no pueden volver atrás y de posgrado.

No estoy diciendo nada de esto a exagerar la importancia de los maestros en la vida o la de sus alumnos o profesores freakout los de primer año, segundo, tercer, o cuarto de sus fracasos individuales (yo, obviamente, incluye,). Todos los nuevos (y veterano) docente se le permite cometer errores. Además, no estoy diciendo que los profesores están obligados a quedarse para siempre en entornos de trabajo de mierda con los directores y la administración que les tratan mal, o en las carreras que no encuentran satisfactoria. Lo que estoy diciendo es que hay algo mal con un sistema que las inundaciones mal desempeño de las escuelas con los maestros inexpertos que salen de la misma manera que se están convirtiendo en maestros experimentados.

Es por eso que me gusta de Teach for America.

No me malinterpreten, yo no soy un gran fan de los New York Becarios de Enseñanza de la ciudad tampoco. No estoy defendiendo NYCTF por sus defectos, que incluyen el apoyo proporcionado muy poca y formación a los nuevos maestros, así como altas tasas de rotación frightenly. Según un artículo del Village Voice 2007, por su quinto año de la enseñanza, menos del cincuenta por ciento de los becarios de la enseñanza siguen siendo de una cohorte dada. Pero al menos en NYCTF la alta tasa de rotación es visto como un fracaso. En TFA, la alta tasa de rotación se ha diseñado como parte del programa. Miembros de la TFA se espera que dejar la enseñanza después de su compromiso de dos años se ha terminado, los que siguen enseñando son vistos como la excepción.

Miembros de la TFA no son requeridos por Teach for America para perseguir una maestría en educación (que, sobre todo si usted no tiene una licenciatura en educación se requiere para convertirse en permanente certificada en la mayoría de los estados), aunque algunos de los estados donde tiene sedes del programa de TFA requieren que los maestros por lo menos a comenzar a tomar cursos de posgrado como parte de sus requisitos de certificación alternativos. Ellos no requieren que los maestros a tomar las medidas para convertirse en permanente certificada porque no hay ninguna expectativa de que sus profesores se quedará en la enseñanza de una vez sus dos años de reanudar la construcción de la experiencia se ha terminado. ¿Cómo puedo saber? Debido a que es en su página web!

La desigualdad educativa es mayor de las injusticias de nuestra nación. Usted puede cambiar esto.

Los tres primeros desplegable etiquetas en la parte superior de la página web de TFA decía: “¿Qué hacemos?”, “La Experiencia Core”, “Después de que el Cuerpo.” La enseñanza no es una carrera de esta organización, se trata de una “experiencia”. Usted se puede escribir sobre ella en su carta anual de Navidad y se muestran sus primos que se fueron directamente a la escuela de leyes en lugar de las diferentes durante dos años para trabajar en el centro urbano. Ahora tiene un poco de “credibilidad” al hablar acerca de por qué No Child Left Behind es una mierda. Ah, y, por supuesto, usted puede ponerlo en su currículum.

Y TFA le ayudará a hacer que el curriculum vitae! Sólo echa un vistazo a la “Después de que el Cuerpo” de su página web. Es lleno de servicios de carrera y las opciones de lo que puede hacer después de haber cansado de “cerrar la brecha de la educación.” Incluso tienen alianzas con varios empleadores, tales como Morgan Stanley, Deloitte, JP Morgan y Lehman Brothers, todos los que permiten a los miembros de TFA aplazar sus empleos bien remunerados como consultores de gestión y los analistas financieros para enseñar durante dos años en las trincheras de las escuelas de bajo rendimiento.

Todavía no está convencido? Escuche a la cantidad de esos dos años de la enseñanza ha cambiado para siempre el ex alumno de TFA:

Mirando hacia atrás, estoy tan contento de haber elegido a enseñar antes de embarcarse en esta nueva fase de mi carrera. He desarrollado habilidades que me facultadas para sobresalir más allá de mis compañeros en la escuela de negocios: organización, gestión eficaz del tiempo, la destreza en la comunicación y hablar en público, y la capacidad de pensar en mis pies. Los hombros responsabilidades que, en el salón de clases me preparó como ninguna otra cosa podía a los retos de la gestión, la comunicación y la intensa concentración que caracteriza a mi posición actual, en el que llevar a cabo investigación de la industria, creación de modelos financieros, identificar las tendencias de la industria, y explicar sus consecuencias.

-Scott, analista de Lehman Brothers

¿No es eso hermoso? ¿No es eso lo que tiene que ver con la enseñanza? Convertirse en un mejor analista financiero?

Vamos a escuchar lo que Mitch, un profesor asistente de biología, tiene que decir acerca de su “experiencia de cuerpo”:

Además de estas enseñanzas profesionales, mis dos años como miembro del cuerpo tuvo un profundo impacto emocional en mí. Experimenté cómo un grupo de maestros dedicados y comprometidos con el éxito de sus alumnos puede ir una manera larga hacia el cierre de la brecha en el rendimiento.

Lo siento, pero simplemente no puedo aceptar esto. Recuerde que la escuela secundaria? Se tomó la mayoría de nosotros unos cuatro años, ¿verdad? Mi punto es que dos años es poco tiempo para ser maestro, ser parte de una comunidad escolar, para ser parte de la vida de los estudiantes. Y como alguien que ha estado en la misma escuela durante tres años hasta el momento, puedo garantizar que dos años no es tiempo suficiente para “recorrer un largo camino hacia el cierre de la brecha de rendimiento”, no importa que tan dedicada a los maestros lo son.

(Dicho sea de paso, para un artículo muy inteligente acerca de por qué el mito de Freedom Writers que todas las escuelas que necesita es profesores muy motivados que están dispuestos para el martirio entre sus estudiantes, echa un vistazo a este mes de enero de 2007 en Nueva York Times, artículo de opinión, “Distinciones del aula” . por Tom Moore El quid de ella está aquí: Cada día los maestros se les culpa por lo que el sistema que son sólo una parte de no proporcionar:. seguridad en las escuelas, adecuadamente dotados de las más altas expectativas para todos los estudiantes, pero eso no es algo que uno profesor inconformista, no importa lo idealista, alegre y abnegada, se puede lograr.)

Empecé a pensar en Teach for América después de leer este artículo en el New York Times Magazine acerca de la reconstrucción de Nueva Orleans, el sistema de escuelas públicas. Aunque el artículo se centra en los efectos propuestas de cambios estructurales que se están realizando en la forma en que el distrito escolar se rige (con un cambio hacia las escuelas chárter de gestión privada en lugar de una más centralizado, de arriba hacia abajo del sistema escolar), no podía dejar de cuenta de esta frase casual (en medio de otras descripciones de los preparativos que se están realizando para el nuevo año escolar): Doscientos cincuenta y maestros de Teach For America, casi todos los graduados universitarios recientes, acababa de llegar para completar los preparativos para sus nuevas posiciones en las escuelas en la región . Lo que me sorprendió fue cómo, en este artículo, que analiza diversas estrategias para la reconstrucción de un sistema escolar en su defecto y en repetidas ocasiones nos recuerda que nada puede ser fijada durante la noche, no tiene en cuenta la contradicción implícita inherant invitando a un gran número de profesores, la inmensa mayoría de los cuales no será de alrededor de dos años.

¿Dónde los maestros y profesores? Según el sitio web de la TFA, que estarán luchando por la igualdad educativa de todos los sectores. Tal vez uno de los muchos miembros de la TFA que van a la escuela de derecho, un día demandar al sistema de escuelas públicas de Nueva York por no presten un servicio adecuado a sus estudiantes de educación especial. Tal vez uno de los analistas financieros después de la TFA en Deloitte convencer a su jefe para donar 100 computadoras a una escuela con ningún programa de tecnología. (Mi escuela, para el registro, recibieron una donación a través de una asociación con una empresa financiera.) Esto es parte de la estrategia de la TFA, y es muy interesante. Es muy posible que algunos de esos dos años 250 profesores harán cambios importantes en el ámbito de la educación desde fuera del campo.

Pero, mientras tanto, los estudiantes de Nueva Orleans se quedará con los profesores año tras año nuevo, poniendo los ojos al ver a 22 años de Brown-graduados de tratar de mantenerlo fresco frente a un salón de clases de los adolescentes sospechosos.

Es un profesor entusiasta, idealista mejor que un profesor quemado? Un profesor que lee el periódico en la parte delantera del salón de clases? (Sí, esto ocurre.) Un profesor de racista? Por supuesto. He visto de primera mano lo que los maestros han hecho en mi escuela en dos o tres años, la forma en que han contribuido a hacer de la escuela funcione mejor, para que la escuela sea un lugar más positivo de diferentes maneras.

Y permítanme ser claro. No me recriminaban a las personas que abandonan la profesión docente. Es una profesión difícil y mal a menudo. No me recriminaban a las personas que se aplican a Teach for America, ya que realmente quieren mejorar la educación en este país. Es una vocación muy noble y desafiante, y no tengo respeto por todos los profesores que están trabajando duro en un sistema de mierda. No dudo que la mayoría de ellos se sentían muy conflictiva por dejar a sus escuelas y sus estudiantes.

Lo que me recriminaban a es la manera de Teach for América envía el mensaje de que es perfectamente aceptable para enseñar a los estudiantes más necesitados de dos años y luego se van, sólo cuando se está llegando a su paso, justo cuando usted realmente puede comenzar a ser más eficaces .

Por lo tanto, voy a dejar con esto, si usted está pensando en solicitar a Teach for America, porque quieres ser un maestro de carrera, no lo hacen. Hay muchos otros programas de certificación alternativa que le ayudarán a obtener una maestría (y le ayudará a pagar por ello). Y si usted está pensando en solicitar a Teach for America, porque usted está interesado en hacer un proyecto de servicio por dos años antes de comenzar una carrera diferente, no lo hacen. Hay muchas otras Americorp programas de tipo que se prestan mejor que el tiempo de marco de tiempo.

En escuelas de bajos ingresos, lo que a muchos estudiantes les falta es la consistencia en muchas áreas de sus vidas (la inseguridad financiera, desalojo, encarcelamiento de los amigos, vecinos y miembros de la familia, la atención médica y dental de mierda, transporte confiable, etc.) Lo menos que podría tener es el conocimiento que van a ver las caras de los profesores de los mismos en los pasillos, en septiembre que vieron en junio.
Publicado en Blogging Invitado Educación,

73 Respuestas

1
Loren 08/23/2008 a las 5:23 pm | Permalink

Eso es, y bien, dijo. Yo mismo soy un TFAer, la mayoría de los puntos que hacen que se han convertido en exasperantemente claro para mí en los últimos dos años.

TFA trae jóvenes, a menudo muy privilegiados, los maestros entusiastas que llegan a las escuelas que sienten un sentido de justicia propia del martirio. A menudo terminan fomentando la expectativa de que en nuestras escuelas a) todos los profesores deben ser capaces y estar dispuestos a, por ejemplo, el trabajo de 15 horas al día, sin exigir pago (lo cual es fundamental que revienta la unión, en el sentido de que muchos profesores que son veteranos pueden tener una familia o un segundo empleo que les impiden ser capaz de poner en todo ese tiempo sin goce de sueldo), b) en esencia “el precio a” los maestros veteranos, ya que los maestros que llegan las que se paga menos que a los maestros veteranos – que las escuelas públicas y la educación pública sistema de ama, y c) a menudo acaban convirtiéndose en los directores después de sólo 2 o 3 años en la enseñanza, sobre los maestros veteranos mucho más calificados que no pasaron por estos programas “prestigioso”.

Si TFA es realmente tratando de erradicar la desigualdad educativa, entonces se podría pensar que el objetivo de la TFA sería eliminar, o no sea necesario más, en algún momento en el futuro. Pero pensar de esta manera: hace Goldman-Sachs por lo general asociamos con o invertir en algo que va a desaparecer en el corto plazo? Por supuesto que no.

Así que … a la derecha en.
2
AnonymousCoward 23/08/2008 a las 5:26 pm | Permalink

Tal vez te estoy malinterpretando, pero parece que usted está dejando que lo perfecto sea enemigo de lo bueno aquí.

Parece Teach For America está teniendo un impacto neto positivo en la educación, como usted indica aquí:

Es un profesor entusiasta, idealista mejor que un profesor quemado? Un profesor que lee el periódico en la parte delantera del salón de clases? (Sí, esto ocurre.) Un profesor de racista? Por supuesto. He visto de primera mano lo que los maestros han hecho en mi escuela en dos o tres años, la forma en que han contribuido a hacer de la escuela funcione mejor, para que la escuela sea un lugar más positivo de diferentes maneras.

Si ese es el caso, ¿por qué abandonar el programa? Claro, no es perfecto o ideal, pero si World_with_Better_TFA> World_with_TFA> World_without_TFA, ¿por qué es la eliminación de TFA es una buena idea?
3
LeilaK 08/23/2008 a las 5:30 pm | Permalink

Bueno, tengo un millón de pensamientos contradictorios sobre esta pieza. Voy en mi segundo año de enseñanza, con TFA. Y muchas de las críticas que usted tiene de ellos son correctos. Un gran problema que tengo es que los AGT es muy a propósito en sí la comercialización a las personas que están “utilizando” a entrar en las escuelas de derecho mejor, entrar en Lehman Brothers, etc Personalmente, no creo que la solución a largo plazo es una buena , pero he de decir que creo que el número es 40% permanencia en la educación después de su compromiso de 2 años – eso no es nadie. Mi mejor mentor en mi escuela el año pasado fue alumno de TFA.

En las clases de los graduados? Tuve que tomar 15 horas para conseguir mi certificación. Y ¿sabes qué? Las clases eran terribles. No mejoró mi enseñanza alguna. Si lo hubieran hecho, tal vez me iba a poner mis maestros. Pero no lo hicieron, y en su lugar voy a mejorar mi enseñanza, haciendo el desarrollo profesional en mi tiempo libre.

Pero, en general, sus críticas de como un programa de TFA son muy válidos.

Mi mayor problema era el siguiente: usted dice que no está recriminaban a los maestros para abandonar el campo. Pero eso es básicamente lo que la apertura de su entera estaba a punto. En lugar de culpar a los maestros por no proporcionar la consistencia, sería mejor centrarse en lo que realmente podemos hacer para mejorar la profesión.

Yo personalmente? Probablemente no se quedará en la enseñanza. ¿Por qué? Porque no tienen suficientes suministros para mis alumnos. Debido a que las pruebas estandarizadas está arruinando la educación. Debido a que me esperan a llegar temprano, quedarse hasta tarde, y trabajar los fines de semana, por un salario de mierda. Porque yo tengo 30 alumnos, cuando se supone que debo tener 22. Debido a sus 10 veces más estresante que cualquier trabajo de oficina que he tenido. Estos son problemas que tenemos que fijar en un nivel más fundamental, en lugar de culpar a las enseñanzas para salir de una situación terrible.
4
LeilaK 08/23/2008 a las 5:31 pm | Permalink

Loren – a la derecha con el comentario de la represión sindical. Uno de mis mayores problemas con TFA.
5
Anna 08/23/2008 a las 5:44 pm | Permalink *

LeilaK,

No puedo trapo en los profesores para dejar la profesión. Muchos de mis amigos han hecho esta elección. Probablemente voy a hacer la misma elección en algún momento en los próximos años. (No puedo decir en este punto.) Y el punto sobre la dirección de las condiciones de mierda y de pago en el que trabajan los profesores como una manera de detener la rotación de maestros es tan importante.

Pero no puedo decir que no aspira que los estudiantes tengan la rotación de maestros constante. Lo hace chupar. Sin culpar a nadie (en los docentes, en los principios, de los AGT, de nuestra actitud acerca de las generaciones “carreras”), puedo decir que la rotación de maestros de alta no es bueno para los estudiantes.

Y me parece que la toma de elevada rotación de profesores como dada la forma en que los AGT no es realmente contraproducente para el objetivo declarado de reducir la brecha educativa.

Ah, y sólo para aclarar, mis clases de posgrado fueron los peores copas que he tomado. El estado de la educación los programas de postgrado es abismal. Yo sólo mencionar el grado de maestría, porque más y más estados requieren que los profesores de carrera (en comparación con dos años de los profesores) reciben un mayor grado en la educación. Los programas alternativos de certificación que construyen esta certificación a largo plazo en su programa son claramente más interesados en la creación de los profesores de carrera que TFA.
6
LeilaK 08/23/2008 a las 5:55 pm | Permalink

Estoy con usted en elevada rotación de profesores es un problema. Mi escuela, probablemente perdió el 25% de nuestros maestros el año pasado. Creo que es muy importante que nos concentremos en la fuente correcta del problema a la hora que hablar de ello.

Demasiado a menudo en la educación, todo el mundo quiere culpar a nosotros (los maestros), y creo que todos necesitamos asegurarnos de que estamos contrarrestando esa afirmación cada vez que podemos.
7
Tori 08/23/2008 a las 6:10 pm | Permalink

Soy TFA alumbre que enseñó durante tres años, dos en la colocación de mi escuela y uno de los distritos escolares. Ahora trabajo en la política educativa, en un trabajo que es estimulante y divertido, y unas 15 veces menos estresante que la enseñanza era.

Tengo un montón de problemas con las escuelas charter, muchos de los cuales comparten la misma filosofía de TFA: está bien para empujar a sus profesores al borde del agotamiento, porque la brecha en el rendimiento tiene que ser cerrado, necesidades de los maestros será condenado. Esto es completamente insostenible, que es creo que una de las muchas razones por las TFA es sólo un compromiso de dos años: ninguna persona sana desea esforzarse tan duro como TFA pide a los maestros a esforzarse durante más de dos años. TFA se basa en un viaje de culpa: usted trabaja con el hueso, porque esa es la única manera que la brecha en el rendimiento se cerrará.

En el otro lado del espectro están los maestros como los que he enseñado a que no eran los maestros de TFA y que gritaban a sus hijos sin descanso, les mostró descargado ilegalmente películas de Disney en lugar de enseñarles, y básicamente ignorados sus hijos de más bajo rendimiento. Eso no estaba bien conmigo, y una de las mejores partes de la TFA es que recluta a un grupo grande de profesores que creen que ese tipo de mierda no docente, hace un flaco favor horrible para los niños que necesitan una buena enseñanza la mayoría.

Así que creo que tenemos un camino intermedio: maestros dedicados que va a crear un cambio real en el aula, pero no permitirá que la enseñanza de mierda de pie. Sucede con demasiada frecuencia, y nadie es despedido por ello, porque los sindicatos de proteger a los maestros, no importa lo que hacen (el racismo, el acoso sexual … a sólo 10 maestros fue despedido en Nueva York el año pasado).

Sinceramente, la cosa de dos años es un problema de reclutamiento. TFA quiere contratar a personas que de otro modo habrían ido a la escuela de derecho, por lo que hacer el compromiso de corto plazo. Algunas personas que optan por TFA en la escuela de leyes deciden que les gusta la enseñanza, y se convierten en profesores fantásticos. ¿Habrían ido a la enseñanza en absoluto si TFA no había sido todo? Probablemente no. Así que le doy TFA mucho crédito por eso. ¿Significa que algunos imbéciles a la enseñanza para rellenar su hoja de vida? Probablemente. Pero gilipollas a la enseñanza a través de periódicos, programas de certificación, también.
8
Anna 08/23/2008 a las 6:22 pm | Permalink *

Y pensé en una cosa más acerca de este problema de maestros que abandonan la profesión.

Aunque es un tema complicado, puedo decir que no creo que la gente debe ir a la docencia a sabiendas de que van a dejar en dos años. Yo no creo que sea una elección ética de hacer. Como he dicho al final de mi post, para aquellos que están interesados en servir a su comunidad / país, hay otros programas y pasantías y trabajos que son más adecuados para un compromiso de dos años de la enseñanza en las escuelas grandes necesidades.

¿Sabía que antes de que me convertí en un maestro? No. Creo que sólo vio el lado bueno de venir en dos años (comparándome con el profesor lector de periódicos). Sin embargo, después de haber enseñado durante unos pocos años ahora, y ver el efecto que tiene elevada rotación de profesores en mis estudiantes y mi escuela y la comunidad en general (por ejemplo, como los programadores y coordinadores de las pruebas ya los técnicos de los datos necesitan ser entrenados a partir de cero cada pocos años, y la gran cantidad de tiempo aspirar es a asistir a la contratación de las ferias en busca de maestros de calidad para reemplazar a los que dejan un país), lo que puedo decir ahora que usted no debe ir en la planificación para enseñar a tan sólo dos años.

¿Eso significa que si usted viene en su deseo de ser profesor de carrera y parece que es el alma de trituración y poco gratificante trabajo que no se debe buscar una carrera en la que usted se siente más valorado y productivo? No. Por supuesto que usted debe irse.

¿Significa esto que usted debe aceptar las condiciones de trabajo de mierda y quedarse en una escuela que se administra mal? Por supuesto que no.

¿Quiere esto decir que si, después de dos años, cinco, o quince usted decide que quiere ir a la escuela de derecho o facultad de medicina o de escribir una novela o quedarse en casa y criar a sus hijos que en su lugar deben permanecer encerrados en su carrera docente para siempre, porque lo haría un error de dejar? No.

Pero dado que todas estas razones (y muchas otras) hacen que los maestros que tenían la intención de permanecer en la enseñanza durante mucho tiempo a abandonar la carrera, si usted sabe que está sólo en ella durante dos años (y de Derecho de Yale ha acordado diferir el aceptación), no se suman a las legiones de maestros que inesperadamente después de algunos años. Deje el espacio para alguien que podría tener una oportunidad de permanecer en la profesión y realmente el dominio de su oficio.
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Ryan 08/23/2008 a las 6:40 pm | Permalink

Como alguien que tenía una especie de colapso nervioso poco y se escapó de Brooklyn en vez de regresar por un segundo año de la enseñanza, apoyo plenamente este artículo y los argumentos de las mismas.

Todavía puede ponerlo en mis aplicaciones de las facultades de derecho, sin embargo. Tal vez no la parte ataque de nervios.
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La Sra. fakename 23/08/2008 a las 6:41 pm | Permalink

Los requisitos de la educación son la razón de las escuelas no pueden encontrar a personas que realmente quieren ser maestros. Y en realidad no hacen los maestros mejor, ya que el plan de estudios es, sin excepción, horrible. Es el peor ejemplo de la búsqueda de rentas en la América moderna. Enfermeras, que son en gran parte responsable de mantener vivos a los enfermos pueden obtener la certificación en una de dos años, el programa de la ciudad universitaria. Los profesores no sólo necesitan licenciaturas, pero la certificación adicional, o de grados avanzados. Es molesta lo suficiente como para mantener a las personas buenas del trabajo y el salario no es, y nunca lo será, lo suficientemente alto como para atraer a otras personas a tomar sus lugares.
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Isabel 08/23/2008 a las 7:36 pm | Permalink

Gracias por este post. Hice un programa de AmeriCorps en una escuela primaria el año pasado, y mientras que también entró en muy idealista, por el fin de año tuve un problema con un programa que espera que sus miembros para quedarse sólo por un año (especialmente teniendo en cuenta el estado de la formación que hicimos, y cuánto de ese año se dedicó a resolver las cosas a cabo un aprendizaje de la de nadar al ser arrojados en el Océano Atlántico). Por lo menos nuestro papel en la escuela era mucho más “[nombre del programa aquí]” y no sólo los profesores regulares, los niños se espera una nueva lista de nosotros todos los años.

Tengo la intención de dedicarse a la enseñanza después de la universidad, probablemente no toda la vida (la vida es mucho tiempo) pero es de esperar durante un buen rato y al mismo tiempo antes de que yo podría haber considerado TFA, ahora dudo mucho que se aplicaría, en base a mi experiencia con lo imposible que es para obtener un identificador, incluso en los más bajos los derechos fundamentales que tuvimos con una formación mínima. Además, yo soy una especie de idiota y ed la escuela se ve divertido. Jeh.
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Isabel 08/23/2008 a las 7:43 pm | Permalink

Enfermeras, que son en gran parte responsable de mantener vivos a los enfermos pueden obtener la certificación en una de dos años, el programa de la ciudad universitaria. Los profesores no sólo necesitan licenciaturas, pero la certificación adicional, o de grados avanzados.

Oh, agregue rápida ya que no estaba cuando me envió-a pesar de que yo personalmente estoy deseando ed la escuela, yo creo que es absolutamente ridículo que la enseñanza de al menos la escuela primaria requiere como seis años de escolaridad si no lo hace importante en la educación, y yo creo que las universidades de dos años los profesores deben hacer una reaparición. He escuchado los argumentos de que los profesores tienen que ser “completa” y cuanto más sabes, más te puede ayudar a sus hijos, y creo que son una especie de BS, ya que creo que muchas de las habilidades más importancia para la enseñanza No se puede enseñar académicamente (algunas personas tienen la constitución de ser paciente con los niños pequeños, algunas personas no lo hacen) y creo que las personas con estas habilidades serían mejores adiciones a la profesión docente, que alguien con un título de la Ivy League y una rápida temperamento. Además, la escuela de posgrado es caro! Además, con un año de universidad, después de un año de interactuar con los niños en un entorno académico, yo realmente no creo que mis tres años restantes de la escuela (mi escuela no tiene una educación mayor) se me va a hacer una mejor docente en todos. Tengo muchas ganas de ellos, estoy seguro de que voy a aprender muchas cosas que voy a estar contento de haber aprendido, pero no creo que la literatura de protesta americana de Tom Paine a Tupac me va a ayudar con un niño de siete años de edad que no va a dejar de pelear o de una que de diez años de edad, apenas saben leer? No es ni un ápice.
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Jennifer 23/08/2008 a las 7:50 pm | Permalink

Gracias a un puesto muy serio y bien articulado. Parte de mi investigación es sobre la rotación de maestros y es un tema tan difícil de pensar. En promedio, el porcentaje de personas que abandonan la enseñanza en sus primeros años no es todo lo que mucho más alto que en otras profesiones, lo que lleva a algunas personas a querer decir que esto es sólo el normal de churn de personas que buscan puestos de trabajo que son un buen ‘ encajar “. Sin embargo, la variación de promedios ocultan enormes en todas las escuelas – la tasa de rotación es mucho mayor en las escuelas con mayor número de niños que son de bajos ingresos, no de color blanco o tiene otras necesidades especiales. Se podría argumentar que los programas de TFA como contribuir a que el alto volumen de ventas, por el contrario, se podría argumentar que sin programas como TFA, sería mucho más difícil para las escuelas para encontrar maestros para dotar a sus aulas. Loren se encuentra justo en que el objetivo de TFA realmente debería ser que no se necesita más, pero las escuelas están entre la espada y la pared – que sería genial si la enseñanza era lo suficientemente atractivo como una profesión que no tendríamos necesidad de programas como TFA, pero hasta que esté, mi impresión es que hay una gran cantidad de escuelas que están mejor fuera con TFA que sin ella.
Al mismo tiempo, estoy de acuerdo contigo al 100% que hay algo no va del todo bien en la enseñanza * no * es la intención de quedarse. Me pregunto si hay otras maneras de esas personas podrían ayudar a las escuelas públicas, sin hacerles daño en última instancia, y aún así obtener la caché de TFA …
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Sara 08/23/2008 a las 7:54 pm | Permalink

Estoy de acuerdo con sus críticas, y creo que muchas de las mismas ideas se aplican a VISTA (Voluntarios al Servicio de Estados Unidos), un programa de AmeriCorps.

Pasé dos años en VISTA en una zona rural trabajando para “erradicar la pobreza.” Al final de mi servicio, yo no había resuelto la pobreza, pero yo había apostado por mi experiencia en una beca de lujo para la escuela de posgrado.

El aspecto más revelador de mi servicio fue que el programa no permite ningún tipo de trabajo político – no hay presión, hay gente que conduce a las urnas. No creo que los trabajadores del gobierno deben involucrarse en la política de esa manera (basta pensar en cómo la administración Bush ha politizado el Departamento de Justicia).

Pero yo le pregunto a menudo cómo mucho más eficaz que podría haber sido si hubiera ayudado a los pobres organizarse para logros políticos reales, como un aumento en el salario mínimo o una ampliación de los beneficios de cupones para alimentos.

En su lugar, llevé a cabo proyectos de servicio que sólo trabajaban en los márgenes de la pobreza, al igual que la recaudación de dinero para poner nuevo revestimiento en la casa de una familia.

Programas como Teach for America y Vista de los canales brillantes personas, idealistas en el trabajo que los hace girar sus ruedas, en lugar de en una acción más radical que puede lograr un cambio social real. Y creo que ese es el punto.

¿Qué pasaría si todos los trabajadores Vista se convirtió en núcleo duro de lucha contra la pobreza y los organizadores sindicales? ¿Qué pasaría si todas las personas brillantes que trabajan para Teach for America salir de la enseñanza y organizados para sueldos de los maestros mayores y mejores planes de estudio?
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exholt 08/23/2008 a las 8:06 pm | Permalink

Yo personalmente? Probablemente no se quedará en la enseñanza. ¿Por qué? Porque no tienen suficientes suministros para mis alumnos. Debido a que las pruebas estandarizadas está arruinando la educación. Debido a que me esperan a llegar temprano, quedarse hasta tarde, y trabajar los fines de semana, por un salario de mierda. Porque yo tengo 30 alumnos, cuando se supone que debo tener 22. Debido a sus 10 veces más estresante que cualquier trabajo de oficina que he tenido. Estos son problemas que tenemos que fijar en un nivel más fundamental, en lugar de culpar a las enseñanzas para salir de una situación terrible.

Esas fueron las mismas razones que varios compañeros de clase de la universidad que se convirtieron en maestros después de obtener sus medicamentos y las certificaciones de enseñanza terminó abandonando la profesión docente después de 3 o menos años. Eso y la gran cantidad de * la falta de respeto de los estudiantes, padres de familia y de la burocracia educativa que a lo mejor .. hace poco / nada para apoyar a los maestros nuevos y en el peor … los usa como chivos expiatorios de los problemas de larga data sistémicas, que son anteriores a su llegada.

La mayoría de ellos terminaron dejando psicológicamente y financieramente agotados como el pago inicial no empezó a cubrir sus gastos básicos … y mucho menos tener que comprar muchos insumos de la escuela de sus bolsillos, sin reembolso.

* Esto incluye los incidentes de violencia física de los estudiantes y padres de familia.

Además de las sugerencias para corregir la forma en la escuela los sistemas de contratación, remuneración, y apoyar a todos los maestros ….. también tenemos que cambiar radicalmente nuestra cultura anti-intelectuales actitudes que parecen favorecer la degradación de la profesión docente entre los estudiantes y sobre todo muchos padres .

Ah, y sólo para aclarar, mis clases de posgrado fueron los peores copas que he tomado. El estado de la educación los programas de postgrado es abismal.

Casi todas las personas que he conocido que ha pasado por un programa de Master … incluyendo aquellas ubicadas en el top 5 se ha mencionado la sensación de que esas clases no sólo eran malas, pero eran bastante inútiles para ayudarles a mejorar a medida que los buenos maestros.

Algunos de ellos también han mencionado el estigma de ser un estudiante graduado en Educación como estudiantes de posgrado en otros programas en la misma escuela a menudo tenían la percepción de ellos no es “tan inteligente”, porque los requisitos de admisión eran percibidos como muy inferior a graduado de otra escuela programas.

Heck, en una hiedra-nivel de la escuela donde yo estaba de visita en unos conocidos que estaban haciendo doctorados en sus escuelas de Artes y Ciencias de la división … hicieron muchas grietas de su campus de la Escuela de Graduados en Educación y la supuesta “inteligencia inferior” de su estudiantes. Cuando traté de ellos desafío en esto, replicó preguntando cuántos de esos estudiantes de Educación podría igualar su astronómicamente alto promedio, los resultados del GRE, y el CV. : Roll:
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DavidSpade 08/23/2008 a las 8:21 pm | Permalink

“La desigualdad educativa es mayor de las injusticias de nuestra nación.”

¿No son las mujeres a los hombres en la realización de los exámenes SAT, tomando clases de Colocación Avanzada más, con la participación de más extra-curriculares, y se graduó a tasas más altas y conseguir más títulos universitarios?
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douglafem 08/23/2008 a las 8:58 pm | Permalink

He estado al acecho feministe desde el comienzo del verano, pero nunca se sintió completamente presionado a comentar hasta hoy. tu artículo me llamó mucho la atención y espero que puedan compartir conocimiento un poco más!

Soy un estudiante de segundo año el aumento en el colegio en Filadelfia, conocer un poco los últimos alumnos que han cometido a la TFA en la zona de Filadelfia-Camden, y – Mirando hacia el futuro – ¿Crees que puede aplicar a mí mismo TFA.

i (muy) recientemente completó una oferta de prácticas se asoció con la libertad de las escuelas de Filadelfia (SLP) y estoy en el proceso de completar un trabajo de investigación en colaboración sobre la base de mi colocación en la SSP y diversas prácticas pedagógicas. (Que debería estar escribiendo ahora mismo, en realidad, pero Google Reader me distrajo!)

Mi pareja y yo estamos escribiendo acerca de la alfabetización cultural y puede el papel de las universidades de investigación urbana / la academia y deben participar en la corrección de las desigualdades estructurales en sus patios traseros. creemos que cometió, * Los maestros culturalmente alfabetizados y afrocentric / multicultural pedagogía en la práctica, son beneficiosos para las necesidades de alta las escuelas públicas urbanas. Soy un inglés y estudios africana doble licenciatura y muy probablemente se aplicará a la escuela de posgrado, así, pero sé que me quieren asociarse cualquier trabajo futuro académico con una inversión en la comunidad negro, especialmente a través de la educación urbana – Beca público / comunitario compromiso.

soy una joven de color que se crió en una posición similar a los estudiantes urbanos pobres y de clase trabajadora. Me considero muy afortunado en mi búsqueda de la educación post-secundaria y desea muy sinceramente a utilizar que la buena fortuna para ayudar a corregir las inequidades en mi futuro. No estoy planeando (en este momento) para convertirse en un maestro de carrera.

¿cuáles son las mejores opciones para alguien en mi posición?
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Renee 08/23/2008 a las 9:04 pm | Permalink

No sé cuáles son las respuestas, pero sin duda no creo que la respuesta es para demonizar a los profesores. El sistema está roto y los maestros no reciben apoyo. En los medios de comunicación que constantemente escuchamos acerca de los maestros que no están haciendo su trabajo sin el examen de las escuelas que se caen a pedazos, y la falta de equipo adecuado. Las cuestiones que me parecen ser más sistémico. Los maestros se espera que hagan más con menos y esto no es justo. Los que sufren son los niños. Si un padre no es capaz de compensar la caída corta en la educación del niño se quedará atrás, nunca para ponerse al día. Después de presenciar el trabajo de mi profesora de años los hijos de primera … (Que Dios los bendiga señora Melissa por su dedicación y apoyo) que tengo el máximo respeto por los maestros.
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Shelby 08/23/2008 a las 10:05 pm | Permalink

No estoy seguro si esto es una suposición sin fundamento, pero TFA siempre me dio esa casi-imperialista “, contra el racismo héroe blanco” viene para salvar a toda la clase los niños pobres de color de los sentimientos.
Estoy de acuerdo con douglafem, una pedagogía multicultural y “alfabetización cultural” son imprescindibles. Lo ideal sería contar con un plan de estudios y la administración que refleja eso, pero creo que sería sumamente útil contar con más justo “culturalmente alfabetizados”, anti-racistas maestros.

Y de nuevo, sólo hay para que los maestros pueden hacer mucho. Paso demasiado lejos fuera del plan de educación blanqueada y termina como Karen Salazar-despedido por enseñar a los estudiantes sus propias historias.
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edu. Cate 08/23/2008 a las 10:45 pm | Permalink

Soy un profesor de Inglés en una escuela secundaria en Filadelfia, y llegué allí a través del programa de Becas de Enseñanza de Filadelfia. He estado frustrado con (algunos) los ácidos grasos trans que he trabajado en una manera que no se han visto frustrados con el Teaching Fellows (la mayoría), y creo que se trata de la filosofía y las características demográficas diferentes que reclutan las dos organizaciones.

Los becarios de enseñanza parecen estar más interesados en los cambiadores de la carrera “, mientras que AGT, como Anna sugiere, en su programa de construcción de un pueblo de dos años de curriculum vitae, experiencia de constructor-justout-de-la universidad un poco. En mi experiencia, los de los becarios de la enseñanza, al menos en mi cohorte, eran personas que estaban por lo menos 4 o 5 años fuera de la universidad, la mayoría de las cuales tuvo una reducción salarial para hacer algo “significativo.” Eso no quiere decir que no no se pierdan de las personas que abandonaron el programa de PTF dentro de un mes de comenzar la escuela, pero parece que aquellos de nosotros que quedan están en él para el largo plazo. No había indicios en mi presevice Institue con el PTF que debo pensar en esto como nada como el comienzo de una larga carrera trabajando para cerrar la brecha achivement.

Empecé en febrero, y yo no estoy obligado a obtener una MEd, sólo mi certificación. Estoy a menudo frustrado por la falta de suministros, pero no tengo un director excelente que en realidad le da más de una mierda de los estudiantes de lo que hace acerca de NCLB y hace un gran trabajo de encontrar el equilibrio entre estas dos fuerzas.

Estoy en una escuela que no es predominantemente ácidos grasos trans o PTF, y tiene todo “tradicionalmente” maestros capacitados que sobrevivieron a los requisitos de NCLB, por lo que creo que tienen una experiencia diferente. En Filadelfia, parece que muchas de las organizaciones no gubernamentales tienen una gran cantidad de los maestros de educación alternativa, “y estoy en forma regular el viejo coprehensive la escuela secundaria. y en mis clases de la educación, que la mente no chupe, pero creo que es porque en mi Universidad, todos los Teaching Fellows estamos juntos y están interesados en la justicia social, hemos hablado mucho sobre la desprofesionalización de la educación puplic y nuestra culpabilidad potencial en eso. y continúan siendo desgarrado, roto, desgarrado.

pero, en mi escuela secundaria, hay unos pocos de nosotros que se identifican como “defensores de la vida.” y aquellos de nosotros que se identifican de esa manera, son condenados a cadena perpetua en la educación urbana, no tienen diseños de reventar a los suburbios, y tienen una pequeña frase que nos mantiene la medida de lo que no es el mejor reflejo de la realidad, y es esta:

todo lo que necesita es un pedazo de tiza y un sueño. que me mantiene vivo.

ah, y ese hombre que ahora es el director general en Nueva Orleans, Pablo Valles, justo antes de irse no fue el director general de Filadelfia, y se encuentra con la educación como un negocio, en lugar de estar en el negocio de la educación. que es fastidioso y no funciona, a menos que usted es el principal interesado en la completa privatización de la educación pública. pero esa es otra conversación para otro momento.

y Ana, estoy de acuerdo contigo: hay un montón de maneras de hacer un proyecto de servicio muy significativo, pero joder con los niños un sentido de confiabilidad no es la manera de hacerlo.

Anna, gracias por una pieza fabulosa.
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Suz 23/08/2008 a las 11:28 pm | Permalink

Muchas gracias por publicar y poner en palabras todas las cuestiones que tengo con TFA como un programa. Yo estaba saliendo con un chico que estaba aplicando para Asistencia Pública y se horrorizó con los materiales que proporcionaban y su misión, que viene de una línea de buenos profesores y dedicados. Lo indignante es todo lo que abarata la enseñanza como una profesión, es decir, usted puede entrar en TFA sin experiencia y que podrá entrar y ser un maestro perfecto y de repente los niños van a estar bien enseñado, en sólo dos años!
Uno de los mayores problemas que veo es que los profesores simplemente no se les paga lo suficiente para el trabajo que hacen, no hay incentivo económico para alojarse en un trabajo que requiere mucho de ti. Vas a ver a los maestros masculinos muy pocos por esta razón: que no puede ser la principal fuente de ingresos en el trabajo de un profesor. La mujer inteligente se quedó en la enseñanza hace 80 años porque no había dónde más podía ir. Ahora se puede hacer TFA y pasar a hacerlo Goldman Sachs o algún otro trabajo muy bien pagado.
También muchos problemas se originan en la comunidad que usted simplemente no puede quitarse de encima, incluso si usted es el mejor maestro maldita vez. Si los padres del niño (s) no son de apoyo de la educación como un objetivo para sus hijos, los niños son mucho más propensos a no hacerlo bien. ¿Y cómo se puede hacer un padre alimentar a sus hijos alimentos saludables? Asegúrese que los niños hagan su trabajo? O incluso proporcionar un ambiente seguro para su hijo? No se puede.
Quebrantamiento de la educación existe en todos los niveles de la sociedad, del individuo a la comunidad a nivel nacional y una persona que actúa como una persona no puede cambiar eso. La comunidad debe estar dispuesto a pasar a los presupuestos escolares. La comunidad debe ser lo suficientemente ricos como para obtener dinero de los impuestos de propiedad. La comunidad debe alentar a sus estudiantes. Con el sistema actual de distritos escolares individuales de diversa riqueza, que toma su riqueza de impuestos a la propiedad, la educación seguirá siendo un lujo de los ricos residentes de un suburbio. Inner City y los estudiantes rurales continuarán a ser sancionados, ya que están excluidos del anillo de dinero de los suburbios.
Teach for America es una forma más de hacer la “carga del hombre blanco”, sin tener que cargar a la gente a cambiar sus vidas.
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Mike 08/23/2008 a las 11:40 pm | Permalink

“No estoy diciendo nada de esto a exagerar la importancia de los maestros en la vida o la de sus alumnos …”

Bueno, eso sería casi imposible. :-)
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Lizard 24/08/2008 a las 2:07 am | Permalink

Un mensaje muy interesante, gracias.

Estoy demasiado cansado como para elaborar una respuesta adecuada, pero ya que ha mencionado el “Freedom Writers” mito, espero que ya has visto esta excelente parodia de Mad TV: http://www.youtube.com/watch? v = ZVF-nirSq5s y función = relacionado
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DavidSpade 08/24/2008 a las 4:10 am | Permalink

El problema no son los profesores, sino que las sub-culturas que están enseñando in Desde preescolar hasta la de obtener mi licenciatura asistí nada más que las escuelas públicas de Alabama. Pero donde yo crecí había una cultura de la educación. En mi ciudad natal de 1 de cada 13 personas es un ingeniero, y en mi área en particular que fue probablemente el doble de concentrado como. Como se puede imaginar, en ese tipo de educación ambiental que ocurra primero. Los profesores de mi escuela se les pagaba lo mismo que los que a través de la ciudad. Pero sin embargo, fácilmente fuera realizado mayoría de las escuelas privadas en todo el país.

Una gran cantidad de padres les gusta que dicen valorar la educación y que “involucrarse”, pero en realidad su idea de involucrarse es sólo putear a los profesores para la materia que no es culpa del profesor. Lo que hay que hacer es dar a sus 5 juegos de matemáticas del año de edad a jugar en vez de estar hacia abajo frente a Barney o Grand Theft Auto. Los padres tienen que dejar de estar tan preocupados por si sus hijos les gusta. Tienen que dejar de mimar ellos y asegurándose de que cada momento de sus vidas, es entretenido y justo tratar a sus hijos como las esponjas absorbiendo información que son. Los niños pequeños encuentran condenados cerca de todo lo interesante. Un niño de tercer grado debe ser capaz de jugar Sudoku o Torres de Hanoi, sólo hay que enseñarles las reglas. En quinto grado, si su hijo no es un jugador experto Mankala, que ha fallado como padre.
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Marksman2000 24/08/2008 a las 6:48 am | Permalink

Anna, volver a la escuela y conseguir que su M.L.S. Como tonto como parece, hay una escasez drástica de los bibliotecarios en los Estados Unidos. Y, no, eso no significa que usted tendrá que barajar los libros polvorientos en una biblioteca pública para los próximos 30 años. Eso M.L.S. puede abrir todo tipo de oportunidades para usted, pero es de fácil acceso para cualquier persona que se graduó con un BA en Inglés. ¡Buena suerte!
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George 24/08/2008 a las 6:53 am | Permalink

Hola,

Este es un artículo excelente. Gracias. La educación es algo que todos se pueden identificar, incluso si no podemos mejorar de primera mano como tú. Tal vez usted podría encontrar este vídeo (estoy seguro de que lo has visto, sin embargo) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4964296663335083307 inspiración.

la mejor;

g
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Isabel 24/08/2008 a las 11:09 am | Permalink

K, si alguien está leyendo este hilo y no ha hecho clic en el enlace de lagarto, y se pueden ver vídeos, recomiendo seriamente que vaya y haga clic en y en este momento, porque es muy gracioso. Sí, no me suele gustar Mad TV tampoco, pero: esto es bueno. Gracias, lagarto.
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Lizard 24/08/2008 a las 11:53 am | Permalink

Gracias, lagarto.

Estás tan bienvenidos. Me hace reír a carcajadas cada vez que lo veo.
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Jen 08/24/2008 a las 12:06 pm | Permalink

Y, a diferencia de, digamos, un trabajo como corrector de estilo o un arquitecto o de un comerciante de arte, cuando usted es un maestro que realmente importa que seas buena en lo que haces, ya que no hay nadie que pueda detectar y corregir los errores antes de que han envenenado sus experiencias de aprendizaje de los estudiantes de una manera u otra.

Sólo quería decir que soy un corrector de estilo de trabajo en un domingo en mi oficina silenciosa y vacía, y eso me molestó. Sé que esto no es en absoluto relevante para su puesto, pero me parece ridículo que se asuma que en realidad no importa que yo sea bueno en lo que hago. Gracias.
30
urbanartiste 24/08/2008 a las 2:26 pm | Permalink

Brevemente regresó a la escuela de posgrado para la educación y después de 2 semestres se retiró. Parece que los AGT es un programa implementado a corto plazo para conseguir los maestros en las aulas de las escuelas de alta necesidad. Una especie de programa que hace que el público cree que alguien está tratando de hacer algo para resolver el problema de escasez de maestros en materias de alta necesidad y las escuelas.

Yo apostaría a que si los maestros se les pagaba lo que se merecen más la gente se quedaría en la profesión. Es hora de pagar a los maestros al igual que nos preocupamos por la próxima generación en lugar de los deportistas y actores cantidades ridículas de dinero.
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exholt 24/08/2008 a las 2:56 pm | Permalink

Uno de los mayores problemas que veo es que los profesores simplemente no se les paga lo suficiente para el trabajo que hacen, no hay incentivo económico para alojarse en un trabajo que requiere mucho de ti. Vas a ver a los maestros masculinos muy pocos por esta razón: que no puede ser la principal fuente de ingresos en el trabajo de un profesor. La mujer inteligente se quedó en la enseñanza hace 80 años porque no había dónde más podía ir. Ahora se puede hacer TFA y pasar a hacerlo Goldman Sachs o algún otro trabajo muy bien pagado.

Eso, junto con la falta de respeto rango de K-12 los profesores reciben de los estudiantes, padres de familia, de la burocracia educativa y EE.UU. la sociedad en general.

Por otra parte, no son sólo los estudiantes varones que no asisten a la enseñanza, pero IME …. la gran mayoría de los estudiantes que se destacaron académicamente en la escuela secundaria y la universidad.

Casi todo el mundo sabía de mi clase que se graduó de la escuela superior imán de público de alta fueron aspirar a profesiones con salarios más altos y / o condición social, tales como médicos, ingenieros, banqueros de Wall Street, abogados, etc Nadie sabía que quería ser un K- 12 profesores … especialmente teniendo en cuenta la mierda que hemos recibido de algunos de ellos porque no les gusta tratar con los estudiantes brillantes que no tienen miedo a la pregunta, junto con ver cómo los maestros tienen que lidiar con la burocracia educativa.

Aunque mi progresiva izquierda radical apoyado el campus de pregrado apreciado la enseñanza K-12 como uno de esos progresistas “nobles profesiones”, es más la excepción que la regla.

IME, parece que hay una percepción común de muchos estudiantes en las universidades más tradicionales …. en especial las de la Ivy nivel para despedir a la K-12 profesión docente, ya sea como una profesión para una minoría extrema de “brillante, pero idealistas ilusos hacer / Los benefactores “…. o más comúnmente como la profesión de último recurso para los estudiantes que realizan marginales / mediocres. La percepción de este último se alimenta en las actitudes desdeñosas muchos no Grad Ed estudiantes de las escuelas tienen estudiantes de posgrado de Educación “no estar en su nivel intelectual”.
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exholt 24/08/2008 a las 3:04 pm | Permalink

Argh … se olvidó de agregar el: roll: al final de la última frase. : Roll:

Creo que la gente con esas habilidades serían mejores adiciones a la profesión docente, que alguien con un título de la Ivy League y un temperamento fuerte.

Y / o alguien con un GPA de 4.0, que es un imbécil completo en el aula.

Además, como alguien que ha tomado algunos cursos en una Ivy junto a su licenciatura y estudiantes de posgrado …… hay un montón de idiotas allí …… con tan sólo mirar a nuestro apreciado Ivy educados Pérez …..
33
Mike 24/08/2008 a las 3:16 pm | Permalink

@ Exholt: “Ivy educado” puede ser una exageración. Yale puede ser culpado por muchas cosas, incluyendo la admisión y graduación del hijo de puta, pero yo apostaría que eran totalmente infructuoso de “educar” a él (si eso es incluso en el programa de los legados de los ricos y poderosos).
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NoFluZone 08/24/2008 a las 3:28 pm | Permalink

Soy una copia del editor (sin guión, por favor), que salió de mi carrera como profesor, porque yo tenía este deseo increíble de pagar el alquiler y comer en el mismo mes. (Y no ser culpado por todos los problemas de la juventud de hoy.) ¿Sabes lo que pasa mucho tiempo de corrección de estilo (una palabra como verbo)? Libros de texto para los estudiantes de pedagogía. Así que, si bien usted puede pensar que mi trabajo no es tan noble o tan importante como la enseñanza, sin mí, se tendría que aprender cómo hacer su trabajo con un poco de seriedad galimatías analfabetos. Si tan sólo pudieras ver los manuscritos primas que pasan por mi mesa. Tenga cuidado cuando usted dice la enseñanza (o cualquier trabajo) es más digno que cualquier otro. Usted se sorprenderá de la interconexión de muchas profesiones.
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Diamante 24/08/2008 a las 3:44 pm | Permalink

Como un maestro de séptimo año de regresar a la escuela la próxima semana, yo digo “Right on!”

No entré en la enseñanza a través de TFA, pero yo no estaba preparado. Siete años más tarde, lo entiendo completamente su frase “El quid de ella está aquí: Cada día los maestros se les culpa por lo que el sistema que son sólo una parte de no proporcionar: seguridad en las escuelas, adecuadamente dotados de las más altas expectativas para todos los estudiantes . Pero eso no es algo que un profesor inconformista, no importa lo idealista, alegre y abnegada, se puede lograr “.

Gracias por el enlace al artículo de Moore The New York Times también.

Gracias por un gran artículo y la introspección.
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Gabriele 24/08/2008 a las 5:35 pm | Permalink

Yo tenía algunas respuestas a la información que falta en su pieza. En primer lugar, el volumen de negocios no es tan alto como usted afirma. (Y realmente no aporta ningún dato sobre lo que el volumen de negocios fue, a excepción de la NYCTF). Más del 60 por ciento de Teach for America alumnos permanecer en la educación si se trata de la enseñanza, que promueve el cambio, o en otra área relacionada. 60 por ciento! En comparación, casi el 30 por ciento de los profesores principiantes salir después de cinco años. En segundo lugar, porque se van después de dos años no los hace menos eficaces. De hecho, un estudio del Instituto Urbano encontró que los maestros de Teach for America son tres veces más éxito que los maestros regulares, con tres años de experiencia, según lo medido por puntajes de las pruebas de fin de año, la diferencia es más significativa en las matemáticas.

Realmente me resulta difícil creer que la gente entrar en Teach for America pensamiento de estos dos años como constructor de curriculum vitae. Teach for America miembros del grupo trabajan fuera de sus extremos por dos años, en realidad no es algo para tomarse a la ligera.
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Isabel 24/08/2008 a las 6:29 pm | Permalink

exholt: je, asisto a una hiedra, confía en mí, soy muy consciente de la falta de garantías que van junto con la calificación determinada (la gente al azar: “Uno va a [Ivy] Wow, debe ser SMART?” Me, exterior: “[sonrisa incómoda]” Yo, en el interior: “Eh, no necesariamente.”)
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Ley Prof 24/08/2008 a las 8:53 pm | Permalink

Lo que un puesto increíble, reflexivo sobre un tema difícil. Estoy de acuerdo con lo mucho que se ha dicho aquí (entre el poste y los comentarios), pero sólo quería añadir una cosa. He estado en una escuela de derecho de admisión comité (bueno, un par de ellos). Alumbre de TFA son una moneda de diez centavos por docena. Algunos son gente muy interesante que han hecho o dicho o escrito cosas que me hicieron y los miembros de mi comité de co-entusiasmo por ellos como futuros estudiantes. Algunos son obvios FOULARDS curriculum vitae. Una experiencia de TFA, por sí solo, nunca se ha influido en mí para recomendar la admisión de un solicitante.
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Sarah 08/24/2008 a las 9:42 pm | Permalink

Gracias por este post! Como Teach for America alumbre (me enseñó durante tres años, en dos regiones diferentes TFA, antes de pasar a otro relacionado con la educación del trabajo), y como alguien que viene de una familia de profesionales de la escuela pública, los maestros, no tengo grandes problemas con los la organización. Yo estaba particularmente preocupado por las constantes exhortaciones de que los nuevos miembros del Cuerpo “las cosas cambian” en sus escuelas, sin tomarse el tiempo para lograr una verdadera comprensión de la política de la escuela o de la nave de la enseñanza. Al proporcionar un flujo constante de novatos entusiastas, Teach for America ofrece una conveniente banda de ayuda para los distritos escolares que están luchando, y evita que estos distritos y las comunidades que los financian, de tener que mejorar las condiciones laborales en las escuelas y aumentar los salarios de los experimentados los profesores.
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Anna 24/08/2008 a las 11:51 pm | Permalink *

Re: comentarios 29 y 34.

Yo en realidad quería decir sin faltarle el respeto a la copia de los editores, o arquitectos, o marchantes de arte. Tengo amigos que caen en las tres categorías, y tengo un gran respeto por su trabajo, y para los conjuntos de habilidades que poseen (y no lo hago).

Copy-editores, en particular, han salvado el culo en el pasado, y sin duda infinidad de veces en el futuro. Estoy tremendamente agradecido. Yo simplemente no tienen la disciplina y la atención a los detalles necesarios para ese trabajo.

Mi único punto, es que en muchos puestos de trabajo (y tal vez la edición del texto no es uno de ellos, lo tomé de entre los puestos de trabajo que sus compañeros no docentes de la mía), creo que la gente se espera que pase por una fase de ” formación “, o, al menos, un período durante el cual se le considera” el novato “y tal vez da más libertad que sus colegas más experimentados.

No he encontrado que este es el caso en la enseñanza. Si el maestro soy un mal para mi primer año (y que no era, en realidad?), Que es una clase entera de estudiantes cuya geometría profesor era horrible. Y teniendo en cuenta la estructura de mi pequeña escuela pública (en el que la promoción social es una “necesity”, dado nuestro tamaño y recursos), que es una clase que nunca llegaremos a tener una vez más, excepto tal vez en la escuela de verano. Yo les cogió por ser un mal maestro mi primer año. ¿Podría haberse evitado? Tal vez no. Tal vez todo el mundo necesita a estrellarse y arder un poco de su primer año. Pero lo ideal, los estudiantes tienen un profesor de primer año, una vez en una luna azul no, tres de sus cinco profesores académicos cada dos años, que es una realidad en muchas escuelas de bajo rendimiento.
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Jay 08/25/2008 a las 12:13 am | Permalink

Agradezco sus comentarios. Usted trae algunos puntos excelentes, pero creo que es posible que falte un par de cosas muy importantes.

Gran parte de su crítica se basa en la suposición incorrecta de que la contratación de un miembro de TFA hace no TFA maestros y sus escuelas en peor situación. Esto es incorrecto. En los distritos escolares que los AGT sirve, no hay una gran cantidad de maestros veteranos con experiencia y excepcional en la fila pero la pérdida de puestos de trabajo a Ivy educados, los ases del derecho sin experiencia fuera de la universidad. Estos distritos escolares formar asociaciones con TFA, ya que ofrece una cartera de gente brillante, trabajadora y creativa dispuestos a aceptar empleos que no pueden ser ocupados por otros métodos más tradicionales de personal docente. Esto se ve claramente cuando un miembro decide TFA o ella no aguanta y se cierra. Un veterano maestro altamente calificado no intervenir de inmediato para reemplazarlos. Muchas veces los estudiantes se dividen entre otras aulas, disminuyendo la calidad de la enseñanza al alcance de todos.

Hace poco terminé mi compromiso de dos años en uno de los más nuevos de Teach For America sitios. Durante una reunión de TFA el nuevo superintendente del distrito llegó a hablar. Mencionó una reciente reunión que tuvo con los directores de las escuelas de bajo rendimiento del distrito. Cuando se le preguntó por el número uno lo que necesita para mejorar – que pidieron los maestros de TFA más. Unas semanas más tarde una gran suma de dinero fue donado al distrito con la condición de que el superintendente debe usarlo en la forma en que sentía que la mayoría de mejorar la distancia de la ciudad los logros. Le dio el dinero para Teach For America. Más del 90% de los directores en el barrio dicen que contratar a los miembros de TFA-una vez más y más del 90% admite que los maestros de TFA están mejor preparados que otros profesores de primer año.

La fijación de los muchos problemas en la educación pública no es una tarea fácil, y por supuesto, Teach For America es sólo una parte de la solución del problema, pero su impacto no puede ser desestimado. La primera prioridad debe ser que los estudiantes atendidos por nuestros distritos escolares. Sólo podemos esperar a tener el más alto nivel de instrucción disponible para todos los niños en todo momento. Si un miembro de TFA puede ofrecer un gran servicio a sus estudiantes durante dos años, ¿no es mejor que no tenerlos en absoluto? Los profesores veteranos son una maravilla y con frecuencia han afinado su oficio, pero la experiencia por sí sola no dar resultados. Si TFA pueden seguir para contratar y formar a los profesores excelentes para reemplazar a aquellos que dejan-ningún niño se está quedando atrás por los miembros de TFA que persiguen otras carreras.

Por supuesto que no todos los maestros de TFA Excel, y muchos la lucha o dejar de fumar, incluso. El hecho es que más de éxito que no lo hacen, que es la razón escuelas siguen para contratar a maestros de TFA. También es cierto que muchos salen de la sala de clases después de dos años. Mientras que han dado a sus estudiantes una mejor instrucción que si no hubieran estado allí, los niños están mejor. Mientras que muchos van ir a la escuela de posgrado o carreras más lucrativas, que no se puede descartar aquellos que siguen a donar su tiempo y energía para el movimiento educativo. Después de una red de miles de médicos exitosos, abogados y banqueros de inversión que tanto entienden y se preocupan acerca de la brecha en el rendimiento no debe ser visto de forma negativa.

Teach For America es imperfecta y no está diseñado para sustituir a otros métodos de entrenamiento y colocación de los maestros. Lo hace, sin embargo, ofrecer a los jóvenes maravillosamente brillantes, creativos y con éxito para ayudar a solucionar el problema, tanto durante su compromiso de dos años y más allá. Creo que tanto los estudiantes y las escuelas a las que sirven están en mejor situación al tener ellos.
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Matemáticas Chique 25/08/2008 a las 3:48 am | Permalink

Gracias Anna. Gran artículo. Me referí a ella en mi blog, Matemáticas me cree.
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Kacie Versaci 08/25/2008 a las 6:24 am | Permalink

Como TFAer a punto de empezar mi primer día de clases, estoy muy preocupado por este post. Confía en mí, yo no soy uno de esos tipos rah-rah TFA … Creo que el programa es deficiente en muchos aspectos. Pero he conocido a muchísimas personas increíbles que están lejos de los “impulsores” del curriculum vitae privilegiados de que usted y muchos de los comentaristas están hablando. Y yo lo veo de esta manera, incluso si están aquí sólo para mejorar su curriculum vitae, TFA monta el culo tanto que hará una diferencia. Y en lo que a mí respecta, el resultado aquí es más importante que la intención. Y en mi región (oriental de Carolina del Norte) la tasa de retención es algo así como un 75-80%. Muchas de las personas en mi último año quiero quedar por 5 años, por lo menos.

Me parece que esto es horrible caso de que juzgar a un enorme grupo de personas, que en vez de dando vueltas después de la universidad, viajar o trabajar algún trabajo que odian, están tratando de ayudar a los niños. Y espero que mejor en Feministe.

Me uní a TFA porque mi región tiene uno de los más altos índices de SIDA y de violación de cualquier condado en el país. Me uní a ayudar y trabajar con las niñas. Y no, no quiero ser un analista financiero o un abogado corporativo después de esto. Quiero ser trabajadores sociales y (¡oh!) Todavía trabajan con niños y mujeres.

Por favor, bájese del caballo de alta y, de hecho hablar con algunos TFAers. Se le echan la culpa a las personas equivocadas aquí y sólo para que conste, TFA y sus miembros no vuelta culpar a los maestros experimentados como otros compañeros docentes tampoco.
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Sailorman 25/08/2008 a las 10:08 am | Permalink

TFA es, sin duda de la “media barra de pan” variedad. Pero dicho esto, el adagio es cierto: la mitad de un pan es mejor que nada, ¿no?

Me refiero a la mierda, tenemos tiempo bastante difícil conseguir que los profesores como es. Y tenemos un tiempo aún más difícil conseguir que trabajar en muchas de las escuelas que los AGT apoya. Ahora quiere la culpa a la gente diciéndoles que deben hacer un puto diez años de compromiso? Cristo. Hable acerca de la manera más rápida de la historia en perder el mayor número de docentes.

“Mismo salario, pero aspirar si no va a quedarse por un tiempo!”

Porque

Lo que me recriminaban a es la manera de Teach for América envía el mensaje de que es perfectamente aceptable para enseñar a los estudiantes más necesitados de dos años y luego se van, sólo cuando se está llegando a su paso, justo cuando usted realmente puede comenzar a ser más eficaces .

Es aceptable. Al igual que es aceptable para mí para dar algo de dinero a la caridad (pero no tanto como a algunos les gustaría), o hacer una cierta cantidad de servicio público (pero no tanto como algunos de ellos) y así sucesivamente.
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Amar al odio Teach For America. «PostBourgie 08/25/2008 a las 2:03 pm | Permalink

[...] Una perorata reciente de un tipo de enseñanza de Nueva York alumbre de becarios de las sumas todo eso. Estos son sólo de Lehman Brothers con plazos niños ricos Slumming que durante un par de años para conseguir “el trabajo [...]
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Kacie Versaci 08/25/2008 a las 4:45 pm | Permalink

¿Hay alguna razón se me llamó comentario en la cola de moderación? Me gustaría escuchar una respuesta a la misma.

Porque después de mi día, mi día en el infierno, si * este * es lo que los fondos fiduciarios que hacen los bebés a fin de que la experiencia buen trabajo, alguien debería darles un Nobel de la Paz de todos modos, porque yo me aspen si esto no fuera el peor día de mi vida … y estoy aquí por las razones correctas.
Cristo.
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Educación Maze 08/25/2008 a las 5:09 pm | Permalink

Teach For America no es perfecto, y como un nuevo miembro del cuerpo a punto de entrar en el aula lo reconozco. Muchas de las críticas del programa son muy válidos, pero el problema es que muchos educadores llevar a sus problemas con TFA y aplicarlos a los maestros que se encuentran. Como un nuevo profesor con TFA tengo la intención de permanecer en el salón de clases en los próximos años, por lo que podría ser una excepción a la regla, pero sé que cuando entro en el aula no quiero juzgar a la gente que me base en el programa que está ayudando a que me puso en su lugar. Quiero ser juzgados en base a mis propias habilidades de enseñanza y la voluntad de aprender. Todos los maestros de TFA son diferentes, y estoy seguro de que hay algunos que no están interesados en los sindicatos y los que no buscan el consejo de los maestros veteranos, pero al igual que cada estudiante, no merecemos ser tratados como individuos y no TFA sellado y fabricado los maestros?

70% de TFA miembros del Cuerpo permanecer en los campos de la educación o la educación relacionados con el, y mientras que sí, que todavía significa que hay un profesor de turno sobre la tasa que sé que no soy una estadística, y que mi compromiso es algo más que a TFA. Mi compromiso es con mi escuela y sobre todo a mis alumnos.
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Anna 08/25/2008 a las 6:35 pm | Permalink *

Aceptar. Un par de cosas.

En cuanto a la retención / volumen de negocios las tasas, si la gente puede citar en las tarifas que se vienen citando, eso sería genial, porque he encontrado muchos tipos diferentes citadas en distintos lugares en Internet (incluyendo el propio sitio web de TFA).

Como ya dije, me convertí en un maestro a través de un programa de certificación alternativa que también tiene una alta tasa de rotación. Aunque yo estaría encantado de saber que TFAers cada vez más (y de otros maestros certificados de manera alternativa) se quedan en la educación durante más tiempo, mi punto principal sigue siendo la misma, que es una irresponsabilidad de TFA para definir el tono que está bien para enseñar sólo durante dos años.

Me parece que esto es horrible caso de que juzgar a un enorme grupo de personas, que en vez de dando vueltas después de la universidad, viajar o trabajar algún trabajo que odian, están tratando de ayudar a los niños … Por favor, bájese del caballo de alta y, de hecho hablar con algunos TFAers. Se le echan la culpa a las personas equivocadas aquí

Permítanme decir para que conste que no estoy tratando de enviar a la papelera las personas que se unen a TFA, no estoy tratando de decir a la gente que se unen a los programas alternativos NYCTF o de otro tipo son “mejores” que las personas que se unen a TFA. Como dije en el principio de mi entrada, me aplicaba originalmente a los dos programas, fue rechazada por TFA, pero le hubiera encantado ser aceptado y tal vez se han trasladado a una nueva parte del país (a diferencia de su estancia en Nueva York, donde he vivido de forma intermitente desde 1994). Tengo un gran respeto para todos los maestros, y admiro el idealismo y el trabajo duro que se necesita para ser un maestro de TFA (o cualquier profesor de primer año), especialmente cuando se le acaba de entrar en el aula por primera vez.

No voy a “culpar a” los miembros de TFA. Yo estoy criticando una parte del modelo de TFA. En concreto, estoy criticando a la parte del modelo de TFA que ha institucionalizado la idea de que la enseñanza durante dos años es un compromiso aceptable para la enseñanza, ya que creo que no lo es.

No estoy en un caballo de alta, tampoco. Por una variedad de razones personales y profesionales, que muy sospechoso que voy a dejar la enseñanza en mi escuela después del final de este año escolar (después de haber visto a mi clase de postgrado de asesoramiento). No culpo a los maestros para abandonar una profesión muy difícil y mal pagado, o para salir de las escuelas mal administradas o escuelas donde no se valoran. Lo que estoy criticando aquí es un sistema que abastece a esas personas que saben que sólo quieren enseñar durante dos años antes de pasar a su verdadera vocación como analistas financieros.

Y debido a que una gran cantidad de comentarios de la gente parecen sugerir que ellos piensan que yo estoy defendiendo la disolución de TFA, permítanme aclarar que no soy. Soy muy consciente de que hay grandes maestros de la escasez (sobre todo en matemáticas, ciencias y educación especial) en muchas zonas del país ya través de mis experiencias en el comité de contratación de mi escuela, soy consciente de que de los candidatos que estén interesados en la aplicación de a mi escuela, en el mejor de la ciudad de Nueva York a menudo son becarios de enseñanza y otros maestros de primer año (en lugar de profesores con experiencia). Seamos realistas, la mayoría de la calidad, los profesores experimentados quieren enseñar en los suburbios donde se les paga más, cuentan con mejores recursos, los edificios escolares más hermosas, un estacionamiento, los padres con el tiempo y los recursos para tener una mayor participación, y un montón de otros beneficios. Reconozco que los AGT pone a los maestros, incluso si sólo se quedan dos años, en las aulas donde a veces no hay otros maestros. Eso es una cosa positiva. (Y gracias a Commentor # 2, que usaban esa frase, “el dejar que lo perfecto sea enemigo de lo bueno”, que nunca había oído antes y que es muy inteligente.)

Lo que estoy defendiendo es que los AGT se transforme en una organización que apoya a los maestros en la elección de permanecer en la profesión. En lugar de construir alianzas con Morgan Stanley en el que los miembros de TFA puede aplazar su trabajo bien pagado durante dos años, completa con prácticas de verano en Morgan Stanley, por lo tanto la creación de alojamientos específicamente para aquellos maestros que son 100% seguros de que no están haciendo un compromiso serio con la profesión, ¿por qué no hacer más para reclutar a aquellos que tienen un declarado interés a largo plazo en la educación? Con su tasa de aceptación de 14% en 2008, creo que pueden darse el lujo de atraer a un menor número de solicitantes, a cambio de más largo compromiso.

Iniciativa de Liderazgo de la Escuela de TFA es un gran ejemplo de un programa de TFA que está tratando de alentar a sus miembros a permanecer en la educación en posiciones de liderazgo. Pero esto es en la parte inferior de la lista de temas en su “Después de que el Cuerpo” sección. ¿Por qué no trasladar su énfasis de la atracción de dos años, los maestros y atendiendo a su derecho, medicina, y las necesidades de las escuelas de negocios, y hacer más para promover un mayor compromiso a largo plazo a la educación?
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Kacie Versaci 08/25/2008 a las 8:21 pm | Permalink

Yo estaba más en respuesta a las personas que nos llaman privilegiados, Lehman Brothers palos de golf.

De los cuales muchos de nosotros no lo son.
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Kacie Versaci 08/25/2008 a las 8:23 pm | Permalink

Ah, y mis tasas de retención vienen directamente de mi trabajo regional, el papel de oficina y tal (este de Carolina del Norte), pero por todo lo que sabemos que está compuesta.
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Selby Chu 26/08/2008 a las 1:13 am | Permalink

Como un estudiante de pregrado en CUNY Hunter teniendo en cuenta la aplicación de TFA (así como la facultad de medicina), me encontré con este post que ser muy reflexivo e informativo. Soy, sin duda, menos informado que muchos de los comentaristas antes que yo con respecto a la enseñanza, pero siento la necesidad de diseñar un par de mis propios pensamientos aquí.

Mientras TFA se promueve la enseñanza como una experiencia de más de dos años, lo que sin duda puede ser visto como irresponsable, me parece que el principal objetivo del programa es, como ha afirmado, en gran medida atraer a los que va a aplazar a una mejor pagado oportunidad. Pero esto no me parece que sea tan grande de una tragedia como usted lo hace ser. Las tasas de rotación de los maestros son absolutamente cruciales, y es comprensible que obstaculizan el desempeño estudiantil y el progreso, pero en el caso de muchas de estas escuelas de bajos ingresos, un profesor recién fuera de la licenciatura es mejor que ninguno en absoluto. Su principal argumento también se ocupa de la atención de TFA y su objetivo indebido de los participantes que a sabiendas se transfieren a otras profesiones, pero usted señala que hay un montón de programas alternativos que hay para los maestros de toda la vida aspirantes. Por lo tanto, me parecería que los AGT es más que otro alguno de estos programas, aunque con un propósito diferente en mente. Uno que aspira a lograr un cambio generalizado, sistémica a través de líderes de la industria potenciales. TFA’ers Muchos vienen con un mayor sentido de responsabilidad, y sin duda con una mejor comprensión de la difícil situación de nuestro sistema educativo es pulg Estos maestros de 2 años puede ser más feliz en otro campo, pero ¿por qué, que necesariamente requieren que ser privados de una experiencia que busca para educarlos acerca de la educación. ¿No somos todos más productivos y eficientes cuando estamos haciendo lo que más amamos?

En mi caso, soy un estudiante de medicina prospectivo, pero también creo que puedo ayudar de alguna manera, forma o forma de hacer frente a esta crisis de la educación. Sólo estoy interesado en las ciencias de hoy a través de un puñado de profesores increíbles que he encontrado. Y tal vez yo pueda tener ese mismo efecto en algunos de los estudiantes en estas áreas. Sí, puedo ver que la idea de la enseñanza es una “experiencia”, y el volumen de negocios de 2 años como un flaco favor a muchos de los estudiantes de estos TFA’ers, pero el problema es también mayor que los propios profesores, y sólo puede ver el progreso, si la propia infraestructura se ha mejorado. ¿Por qué no dar a estos posibles medicina, derecho y estudiantes de negocios la oportunidad de tener una visión empática de los profesores? Si estos graduados de la Ivy League, son verdaderamente los líderes del futuro, entonces yo también creo que la exposición a los horrores de escuelas de bajos ingresos pueden producir una plataforma de lanzamiento para un mayor cambio en la verdadera conciencia se extiende entre ellos. TFA no es una panacea para todas las escuelas de alta necesidad, ni tampoco tratar de atender a aquellos que están buscando a convertirse en maestros de toda la vida. Porque, como muchos de ustedes han señalado, el problema real reside en el sistema, y al mismo tiempo tener más dedicados y apasionados profesores de estas escuelas será de gran ayuda, no se cubrirá con su sombra la cuestión más a la mano. No creo que TFA es perfecto, pero sí siento que están trabajando para proporcionar a los líderes de la industria con la educación suficiente en sus mentes para convertirse en un eficaz sistema de cambiador, no el conveniente “curita” que algunos de ustedes afirman que es .
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JuliaG 26/08/2008 a las 7:47 am | Permalink

Gran post! En riesgo los niños merecen mucho mejor que ser tratado como dejar de motivos de las personas que deseen tomar mejores conexiones, se pierden en una economía se desplomó, o que quieren dar a su conciencia de un masaje.
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Billy 08/26/2008 a las 12:59 pm | Permalink

Rock on. Yo soy un artista de la enseñanza de primer año en Nueva York y ha estado luchando con una gran cantidad de estos mismos temas. Lo que me gusta de nuestro programa es que está preparado para ayudar a los artistas y los jóvenes. Es a tiempo parcial. Por lo tanto, no tiene la misma extraña pre-profesional, el futuro de los que más ganan, barrio que durante un año antes de hacerlo sentir grande. Pero me encuentro en un lugar ahora, después de menos de un año, donde se han ajustado todos mis objetivos de carrera y otros pensando en el futuro porque sé que mis alumnos, mis específicamente les, los estudiantes homosexuales, bisexuales y trans se realmente decepción si me queda después de hacer un montón de la organización LGBT en la escuela el año pasado.

Además, muchos de mis estudiantes como estar cerca de mí. No pretendo saber lo que es. Y realmente no tiene esa personalidad profesor favorito o cualquier cosa, soy bastante tranquilo. Acabo de traer bocadillos y cosas interesantes para hacer arte con la hora del almuerzo o después de la escuela. Les dejo hablar mucho acerca de ellos mismos. Un estudiante me preguntó si yo era ese “maestro de la terapia de la clase, le dije:” No, yo enseño la fotografía digital. “Van a pasar dos horas después de la escuela en mi clase hablando y collage o hablar y hacer lo que en el equipo, entonces Yo, literalmente, tienen que sacarlos para que yo pueda salir. Tengo la sospecha de que se sienten invisibles.

También me siento mal por los otros maestros. Matemáticas, historia, física, son cosas muy interesantes también, pero tienen una cinta mucho BS y rojo tienen que ir a través. No puede ser la enseñanza de la diversión para los regentes. A veces me siento culpable por este trato dulce que llegar a donde acabamos de pasar el rato, comer, hacer arte, e interactuar con los jóvenes.
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Kacie Versaci 26/08/2008 a las 4:45 pm | Permalink

Gran post! En riesgo los niños merecen mucho mejor que ser tratado como dejar de motivos de las personas que deseen tomar mejores conexiones, se pierden en una economía se desplomó, o que quieren dar a su conciencia de un masaje.

Um …. una vez más esta hipótesis acerca de la intención de los que hacen TFA (no estoy ciertamente enseñar a dar mi “conciencia de un masaje”) es realmente ignorante y parcial. Ninguno de ustedes sabe por qué alguien está haciendo este programa a menos que hubiese sido expresamente lo explicó para usted. E incluso si su intención es aplazar una carrera mejor remunerados, que no los convierte en un maestro INEFICAZ.

Estoy empezando a cansarme de todo el mundo en este foro el supuesto de que todos los TFAers son niños malcriados y egoístas. Se necesita una persona muy desinteresada a estar frente a ese salón de clases todos los días, tratan de tener que enseñar a los estudiantes de 11 a leer y 9 º grado la forma de añadir, a continuación, se criticó por ello por extraños. ¿Qué alguno de ustedes hacer hoy para mejorar el sistema educativo? Estoy dispuesto a apostar que algunos de ustedes son maestros, pero no tengo un tiempo difícil creer todos estos críticos están enseñando en una escuela caduca en el medio de la nada (o en el corazón de una gran ciudad) tener que romper todas las peleas día, haciendo que llama una “mala puta blanca” por un estudiante por el simple hecho pidiéndole que sentarse en su asiento asignado (esto me pasó a mí en mi primer día) al mismo tiempo que tratar de ponerse al día decenas de personas en matemáticas en la ciencia que han sido no por el sistema. 10 º grado que no saben cómo multiplicar. 9 º grado que no puede escribir su propio nombre.

Esto es lo que es realmente, la gente. No estoy seguro de lo que usted piensa que “Brats Lehman Brother” y “bebés de fondos fiduciarios con la conciencia” hacer todo el día como parte de Teach For America, pero no están sentados alrededor de culo, comiendo bombones y leyendo el Wall Street Journal. No, estamos reventando el culo en la primera línea de los peores sistemas educativos de la nación, tratando de sacar a los milagros de la mayoría de los niños personas han renunciado a. Nosotros no somos santos, pero estamos seguros de que no se Dicking alrededor, masaje nuestras conciencias.

Pero, en realidad, ni siquiera quiere creer que el ex jefe, vaya. Si te hace sentir mejor acerca de lo que está haciendo (o no son, como el caso) por todos los medios, continúa. Venga a hablar conmigo cuando te levantas todas las mañanas, está enfermo del estómago por el miedo, porque un estudiante le ha amenazado, tiene que enfrentarse a su madre, responde al principio, escribir cuatro niños para luchar en su salón de clases, y todavía tratan de enseñar a los pocos que trabajar duro, pero todavía tienen muy poco en la vida, ya que algunos de ellos tienen hijos (a los 15 y 16!) y apenas puede escribir una frase completa. Entonces usted puede venir a hablar conmigo.Tell me how I, and the other 94 of us in Eastern North Carolina, are just a bunch of rich, spoiled 22 year-olds looking for karma points and resume building. Because trust me, there are easier fucking ways to get there.
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Nic 8.26.2008 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

“I’m criticizing a part of TFA’s model. Specifically, I’m criticizing the part of TFA’s model that has institutionalized the idea that teaching for two years is an acceptable commitment to teaching, since I believe it is not.”

I am a NYCTF alum, and as far as I was told, 2 years is not the “acceptable commitment to teach”. I don’t know anyone who was serious about the program and who didn’t see this as a longer-term choice and expected to be there more than 2 years – I can’t think of any of my colleagues who saw the program as something “fun”, “interesting” or as a “resume building” option to do for just a few years. I and others in my classes looked at this as a long term decision, and many of us had to work very hard for this decision and it was not something that we took lightly. I also noticed that the few who were not as serious about the commitment to begin with, tended to all drop out before they were even placed in the classroom, and actually the program factors those types of situations in. Still, the intensity of the program is a pretty good way to ensure that only the genuinely serious stay on to be placed in the classroom. I know this is more my anecdotal reasons than anything else but….here’s what the NYCTF website has to say about retention rates for fellows:

“Today, 87 percent of Fellows begin a second year of teaching, a higher rate than the national average, and nearly three-quarters teach a third year. These retention rates are noteworthy since Fellows teach in some of the hardest-to-staff schools in the city. Nearly half (49 percent) of all Fellows who start their first year continue into at least a fifth year in the classroom.”

I would say that if this program can achieve higher than national averages for NYC schools, than it can be looked at as an improvement from even the traditional paths teachers follow into education.

Obviously the programs are not perfect. But originally these programs were set up because cities were desperate for teachers as the situation they were facing was that 60% of new hires were lacking certification and they knew that states (at least NY) were soon going to be mandating that ONLY certified teachers be teaching in the schools. The schools were faced with the task of finding a realistic, fast, solution, and that is how these programs were started (at least in NYC that was the case).

Quote from the website:
“In 1999-2000, 15 percent of New York City’s public school teachers and 60 percent of all new hires lacked teacher certification. The New York City Teaching Fellows (NYCTF) program was created in 2000 to recruit, select, and train talented professionals from outside the field of education to teach in City schools that were struggling to find highly qualified teachers.”

Also the reason why people leave are not always “I just don’t feel like teaching anymore” or “it’s too difficult”. Although, yes, I’m sure there are some. However, in my case, I was forced to leave because I became too ill to physically teach any more, I am now disabled and out of work. But I would to have given anything to have been able to continue teaching, but it was totally out of my control. Still, there are many reasons why teachers do not stay for 3, 5, 10, 50 years. The reasons are varied and diverse, however, a huge reason that teacher turnover is high, is not by any means a result that is just particular to the teaching fellow programs. As the statistics that I just quoted point out, the NYCTF retention rates are higher than the national averages. To me this indicates that the fundamental problem in teacher turnover lies NOT within the “fast-track” teaching programs, but elsewhere. I think it is pretty obvious that low salaries, poor support for new teachers (whether you are a fellow or not), testing constraints, slashing of budget and extracurricular programs, adversarial relationship between unions (principals vs. teachers), the lack of respect that teachers receive as professionals, unrealistic work load expectations (teachers are expected to do more and more with less and less), punitive measures taken towards schools that need help the most (NCLB), and a host of other issues are driving the high teacher turnover rates. The turnover rates seem to have everything to do with policy measures that are dictated by state and federal governments. And of course, as many teachers already know, whenever these policies are made, none of these politicians or businessmen ever bother to ask actual teachers.

Something else I would like to point out, is that, as we all know, many teachers are women. (And we all know the issue with the wages and women can be very oppressive) Anyway, many teachers are not only women, but single women raising their own children…or I should say … were teachers. What I also had heard via, word of mouth is that some, especially those with dependents and whom are the only source of income, were being forced out of their teaching jobs because they were not able to support a family on a teachers salary. In fact, many teachers have been noticing that they cannot even afford to live in the same neighborhoods in which they teach, because of this. So wage issues, (not the TA programs) really can have a big affect on whether or not teacher’s families are able to support themselves and thus stay in the profession. It’s just one of many points, but I just thought it was worth pointing out.

So, last point, to sum up, I guess I am a little offended by the narrow view of the teacher turnover situation, that it is the fault of fast track programs, because In my experience it actually has very little to do with the Teaching Fellow/TFA programs and very much has to do with policy. To me this is obvious, but perhaps some here have not been in the trenches long enough to have observed this. Still, I feel like just blaming teachers and fellowships is taking the easy way out of discussing these difficult problems. I notice that people would rather play the blame game, rather than offer and advocate for possible solutions, I guess it’s just easier that way since most people know little about the system and how it actually works (not that I know everything about everything, but I’m fairly educated on the issues)… Again, while the fellowship programs were not perfect, at least the they were a partial solution to a difficult problem and although they could always be improved upon, it is a far better solution than just complaining and leaving things as they are.
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Why I Hate Teach for America « Teach For America-Debunking the propaganda 8.27.2008 at 9:43 am | Permalink

[...] August 27, 2008 · No Comments A blogger at Feministe writes: [...]
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JuliaG 8.27.2008 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

“It takes a VERY selfless person to get in front of that classroom every day, deal with having to teach 11th graders how to read and 9th graders how to add, and then get lambasted for it by complete strangers. ”
Welcome to my world.
Only difference is, I paid for the educational preparation in order to do so and am not high tailing it out of there.
Teachers who stay in the profession work their asses off and are “lambasted” on a daily basis.
To add insult to injury, we see these stupid corporate based programs that decide that the best thing to do to an already broken system is send in people who have no training. Oh, yea, they’re the solution.
If you really want some respect then stick around for a few years, get lambasted constantly for doing so, and still care about the kids.
Then we can talk.
Until then, say hi to Wendy Kopp and Goldman Sachs.
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Sarah 8.27.2008 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

Aw Kacie, as someone who has been through the hell that is first-year teaching in a shitty place, I promise it gets better… a little better, anyway. I don’t think Anne is implying that people ever choose to teach for purely selfish reasons, but the systemic and programmatic issues she raises are real.

The structure of TFA’s recruitment and placement processes (limiting the power that applicants have to select their own placement regions, forming recruitment partnerships with non-education-related corporations, using promotional slogans like “Teach for 2 years…learn for a lifetime!”) exacerbate the turnover issues that already plague under-resourced schools.

In response to some of the comments about teacher shortages– TFA explicitly states that the organizational mission is not about filling the teacher shortage, but about closing the achievement gap. Plugging passionate but inexperienced teachers into the schools where students need the most help doesn’t seem to be the best way to do this. Instead, what about creating a program that provides incentives and support for outstanding experienced teachers and administrators from well-performing districts who choose to relocate to high-need areas? That seems like a more effective (if more expensive) means of addressing the real needs of children and schools.
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JuliaG 8.27.2008 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

Hey, here’s an idea. Stop spewing nonsencial rhetoric about what TFA says and stay in the classroom for more than two years.
What’s the problem?
Scared to get your hands dirty for too long?
Scared to struggle on a teacher’s salary for the rest of your life?
Whimps!
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Ellen 8.28.2008 at 10:42 am | Permalink

Whoa, there’s no need for name-calling.

While I’m 100% on board with Anna’s post and think it’s a fantastic indictment of TFA’s marketing and basic philosophy, Katie Versaci is right that some of these comments represent ad hominem attacks on the individual people who choose to enter teaching through TFA. As Anna herself her reiterated, attacking individuals isn’t what this post is about, and isn’t the most productive way to approach reforming TFA and reforming teaching and education in general.

I understand where you’re coming from, JuliaG. I also have some significant anger towards people who work for Goldman Sachs and make a ton of money. I went to a university where my fellow graduates were encouraged to apply to major corporations in finance, marketing, advertising, investments, etc. There was no critical discussion of the problems that these companies perpetuate and represent. There were weekly job fairs from, yes, Goldman Sachs & Co., but ZERO job fairs for nonprofit, grassroots, activist, or sustainable change organizations.

If you think there is an ethical problem with the desire to earn more than a teacher’s salary — and I think that’s a very real possibility — there’s got to be a better way to articulate that than calling those folks wimps.
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Ben 8.30.2008 at 12:39 am | Permalink

Sadly, You’re missing the point about TFA.

First of all, 2/3s stay in education in some capacity after their two year commitment. So to suggest that all TFAers bail after 2 years is unbelievably misleading. It’s worse than that — It’s a lie.

TFA has launched a full-out attack on the achievement gap. Their battle plan is two pronged. One prong is the teachers’ impact in the classroom. This part of the plan is limited in scope because there are only so many corps members. You cannot eliminate the achievement gap with only a few thousand teachers in the classroom — logistically, TFA’s reach is limited by the size of the corps. Although, study after study suggest that TFA teachers outperform their colleagues.

But the second prong is also very powerful — the TFA alumns who know the achievement gap intimately. TFA works methodically to place their alumns in positions to reform eduction. Their goals revolve around how many alumns hold leadership positions or become school board members, principals, elected officials, administrators. Not to mention those who do become investment bankers and lawyers who are able to contribute enormous capital and resources to the movement. And because TFA alumns are fanatical about high expectations for low-income students, and working relentlessly to achieve student results, these values permeate throughout the communities that TFA alumns share. The second prong of TFA’s moel for change is incredibly powerful.

An enormous problem in teaching and education today is that there is a talent gap in the profession. Talented and well-trained teachers usually gravitate towards more attractive settings. They want to work where there are involved parents, safe surroundings and resources to teach effectively. Most do not end up in the neighborhoods that TFAers do. In many situations, there are teachers who are not nearly as committed as most TFAers and do not hold students to the same expectations. So, the bad teachers ususally end up in the least desirable classrooms in the country. That is simple supply and demand. Increasing the demand for some of the roughest classrooms in the country is a good thing for education in low-income communities. Attracting America’s best and brightest young people to solve this problem is incredibly important.

I am in my second year as a corps member, and at the outset of my teaching career, had very little interest in being a teacher for more than two years. Now, I am consumed with leading my students, and will work relentlessly until we have reached our goals. I cannot imagine my life without working towards ending the achievement gap. Nearly every single one of my colleagues in TFA feel the same way. Hardly anyone is in it for whatever is next. My colleagues and I get up every day, work as hard as possible for our students all day, and plan four hours to do it again tomorrow. This grind has given so much meaning to my life. It is insulting to suggest that anyone would work this hard and become so emotionally invested in education reform, just to put it on a resume. That shows a profound lack of understanding for what our organization is all about.

Education reform is the civil rights movement of our generation. Bemoaning thousands of smart, committed people who are working as hard as possible to right the injustice of the achievement gap is pathetic.
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The Nigerian email contract « D2 route 9.5.2008 at 12:32 am | Permalink

[...] members that Chancellor Potty Mouth intends to fire every career teacher and replace them with Teach for America zombies who have no intention of staying in teaching. It’s just union busting with a lot of [...]
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mastap 9.17.2008 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

Teaching is without a doubt one of those professions where the learning curve is steep and mistakes, like in any first year profession, take time to overcome. It is easy to bash an organization without truly taking the time to understand it. You are quick to point out that first year teachers struggle, and that placing them in under-resourced schools adds to the difficulties. That will be the case with any teacher no matter how well trained, rather as an education major right out of college, someone with a masters degree, a member of the Teaching Fellows, or someone from Teach For America. T he obstacles are across the board no matter where you teach, where you received your education, and whether or not you are affiliated with an organization.
Teach For America is an organization looking to partner with teachers, educators, and administrators in bridging the nation’s most pervasive problem, not one looking to damage students. For those who are quick to criticize that it leaves poorly trained teachers in precarious situations, consider that most first year teachers face the same challenge. Teach For America, however, helps to fill a fundamental shortage of teachers in low income communities. Too often, even experienced teachers jettison underperforming schools for the suburbs. It is my understanding that Teach For America seeks to partner with Teaching Fellows, and those dedicated teachers (not to say those who leave are not committed) in servicing the lower income communities to the best of their abilities. Few if any first or second year teachers are as successful as they want to be, but every day the vast majority of Teach For America corps members show up with energy, enthusiasm, and attempting to use innovations or similar techniques as experienced teachers. Teach For America is a data-driven organization, which means it is constantly evolving, analyzing, and finding ways to better prepare its teachers to make an immediate impact, and although that is not always the case each year their corps members enter much more prepared.
In response to your criticism that corps members often leave after beginning to become effective and after having a significant amount of time invested into training them, I cannot disagree entirely. However, I would like to point out several facts that you are quick to overlook. Over 60% of Teach For America’s alumni stay in education. A large number of these people may never have even considered teaching or education before being recruited by Teach For America. This creates a legion of devoted teachers who continue to learn and add to their schools after their two year commitment is complete.
The purpose of debate and open public discourse is always to seek to share information and enlighten. I cannot deny that I am biased as a second year corps member teaching in the South Bronx. That being said, I cannot hide certain biases as well. However, as someone from part of the organization and who has undergone the training I can tell you that corps members deeply care about their students and are well aware that their failures as teachers affects much more than their pride, but the lives of their students. Few first year teachers are successful, but that does not mean that all Teach For America’s are unsuccessful. Over 30% achieve Significant Gains, a term reserved for building students’ reading levels by over 1.5 years or having the class master over 80% of their objectives. A greater percentage has Solid Gains in their students, which also seeks a strong movement forward in the academic ability of their students. Again, this does not mean all are successful, but a substantial portion are not screwing uptheir students’ lives.
As mentioned, I am a second year corps member, and I am currently mulling the difficult decision of whether or not to continue teaching. This is not an easy choice, especially after seeing drastic improvements in my own craft only a week into my second year. Part of the tenet of the Teach For America mission is that the achievement gap is so persistent and widespread that it requires committed individuals in different sectors with direct knowledge of these challenges. Which teachers would not want to see people in finance, consulting, lawyers, nonprofit employees, and politicians, who shared their growing pains wanting to help them and supporting education? I know if I do not end up teaching (something that I did not consider before joining Teach For America) that my experiences will go with me in any profession, and I will do my part whether by giving time, mind power, networks, or financial support to help all teachers battling the achievement gap. The reality is that inner city schools need teachers. Teach For America provides that. Career teachers who are in the trenches could benefit from support outside of their schools and corps members and alumni are looking to provide this in the future. We are all in this together and should spend time trying to work together rather than criticize.
I hope this helps provide more insight into the organization that you are quick to attack.
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Enlightened 9.18.2008 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

TEACH FOR AMERICA CONDONES CHEATING…CHECK OUT ARTICLE

http://www.nysun.com/new-york/high-test-scores-and-criticism-follow-a-south/80944/

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Anon Y Mouse 9.19.2008 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

Aww, yeah, I would be bitter too if I was condemned to a life of being a public school teacher in New York. I would also be bitter if I didn’t have the skill or tenacity of becoming an investment banker — after all, they are making 4+ times more than what a teacher makes every hour, but don’t have to deal with little savages.

So imagine being able to teach for (arguably the hardest) first two years of teaching, to become financial analyst. It seems like those TfA’ers are moving up in the world, so I guess I would be mad too if I saw all these well educated grads surpassing you in their careers.

At least you have job security as a blogger right?
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Miss Marsh from Memphis 9.19.2008 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

1. You have some excellent points. You are absolutely right that it sucks that enthusiastic, skilled teachers at best, and warm bodies at worst tend to leave the classroom after two years at such a rate.
2. Reasons teachers leaving isn’t apocalyptic:
a) A sizeable chunk of TFA teachers would never have gotten into teaching without TFA. Regardless of when or if they leave, there are more passionate people in education because of TFA than without it.
b) Even if they leave to pursue law school, business, med degrees or something directly outside education, these teachers can never look at a ballot or career decision involving education without their experience influencing it. (More people making reasoned, experienced decisions about education is never a bad thing).
c) In my experience, a pretty big number of people who came in lured by the promise of “an experience” have ended up staying, unable to pass over the implications of broken school systems for the Lehman or Goldman-Sachs lives that their kids may never achieve in the current system.
d) Depending on the exact year, region, etc somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of TFA folks stay involved directly in education or teaching. I struggled immensely deciding whether or not to leave my school but when it came down to it, I decided that I’m more skilled at working with adult administrations than with students. Therefore I see attaining a degree in Public Policy of MORE benefit to my students and the general public than me personally teaching. I can affect more people in a wider sphere when I really struggled and was worn down in the classroom, making me less than a much less than perfect teacher.

As someone else said, why is perfect really the enemy of good?

I don’t hope to have the whole answer, but even a program with admitted flaws like TFA is better than doing nothing. If you have a better idea, please bring it into the open, get it to policy makers and legislature, tell me and I’ll vote for it- god knows we need it.
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John 9.21.2008 at 12:08 am | Permalink

Alright, I’m going to identify myself so that you understand where I’m coming from about this comment:

I was raised by public school teachers and attended public schools K-12. Kentucky’s schools are actually pretty solid, and I was able to take several classes in Television-Production; I was a good student and I received a scholarship to a top private university to study film. During my undergraduate work, I decided I didn’t want to make a career on a set, that I DID want to go to law school, and that I needed to take some time beforehand to do something important while I had the time and energy.

Enter Teach For America, an organization that I knew to be flawed but solid nonetheless; for the first time in my life, I felt like I could honestly endorse a non-profit because everything they do is so transparent. Your quips about the quotes on the website are somewhat amusing to me, as though it were a dirty secret that we try to convince people who wouldn’t otherwise be teachers to come and teach. Obviously that’s what we do, and I don’t think that an organization so honest about what it does–and in the public interest, at that–should be harangued.

I am now teaching three self-contained 8th grade math classes at a middle school in the Bronx. I’m not a great teacher–I feel like I’m failing my 29 students each day–but every single administrator and teacher at my school has told me that I’m the best math teacher my kids have had. PERIOD.

Also, I am not an anomaly within the system. The independent research shows that, regardless of the intangibles you discuss, students who have Teach For America corps members achieve AT LEAST as much as their peers in math and reading, even if the students have a veteran, fully certified teacher. http://www.teachforamerica.org/research/studies_student_outcomes.htm

Yes, it is atrocious that a 22-year-old film major can be the best math teacher a 16-year-old overage student with a severe emotional disorder has ever had. Yes, it would be better if I didn’t “leave” my students after two years, but, if everything continues as planned, they’ll be GRADUATING FROM MIDDLE SCHOOL AND GOING ON TO A HIGH SCHOOL because they are being taught by three different Teach For America corps members. They won’t see me again next year because I’m doing my job now to make sure they are prepared for the next stage of their academic career. Obviously that isn’t always going to be the case–promotion doesn’t lead to a new school in every grade–but you sure are making a mountain out of a molehill when you look at the whole picture.

This is the state of our current education system: last year, my boys had a woman who hadn’t taught or taken a class in math for more than 30 years, and the year before they had a string of “permanent substitutes.” At least I passed the AP Calculus test with a 5 within my students’ lifetimes. It sickens me to think that I am considered “qualified” to teach my kids, but I also know that my principal was not going to find a more “qualified” teacher willing to work in her school.

Your entire post is based on the presumption that there are enough certified, effective teachers just WAITING to enter the field of education and take the jobs which are being stolen by Teach For America corps members. The simple fact is that if I hadn’t been convinced to teach in New York City by Teach For America, my eighth grade students would never have learned how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, let alone evaluate expressions with integral exponents like they did on Friday.
68
s 9.28.2008 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

I notice that several people have talked about how hard teaching is. Some people also comment on the low pay, tough to navigate administrations, and how shamefully far behind students are in low income communities.

Then there seems to be this rival between Kacie and JulieG about who is “tougher?” or cares more and who is willing to put up with more shit–as teaching is tough and Kacie might not want to deal with that shit for quite as long as JulieG?

It seems apparent that you’re both working your asses off. I wonder, JulieG, if rather than telling people who weren’t going to go into the classroom in the first place (but who have the support of a national organization that is constantly striving for higher student achievement above all else) to STAY out all together, your job might actually benefit from them coming in. TFA isn’t in the business of taking jobs from good teachers. They’re in the business of both educating students and THEN reforming education. I mean…Ms. Marsh from Memphis says that she’s going to policy school after two years in the classroom. Wouldn’t you rather people making ed policy have some experience in the classroom than not?

And wouldn’t you rather TFA tell her it’s OK to go in and make gains with students for two years (as indicated by the several studies cited in other posts) than NOT?

Does it really threaten the profession for people to come in and start to respect the hell out teachers and then leave to go make it a little less difficult for teachers and students to be successful in the long run?
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Alan J 10.9.2008 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

As a TFA corps member, I’ll admit TFA is far from perfect. Most TFA’ers will admit that. However, I feel like your criticisms ignore the realities of the situation. The fact is, there is a lack of supply of people who are willing to make a career of the often soul-sucking profession of urban teaching. TFA recognizes this, and instead of attempting to shoe-horn every potential corps member into the mold of career-teacher, their less-idealistic goal is to try to get 2 years of solid, dedicated work out of top-caliber student/leaders.

I posit that the end result is that people who want to be urban teachers permanently will join TFA anyway, but that they are also attracting a large number of people to at the very least fill the gaps in the ranks of the national urban teacher corps. I should also add that it has been my experience in the Baltimore corps that a large emphasis actually is put on staying in Baltimore City classrooms beyond the 2 year commitment.

The obscene turnover in urban teaching would be there with or without programs like TFA, and I believe it would be even worse without TFA. The problem isn’t TFA, the problem is the horrific lack of support and resources, as well is the incredible strain put on people who step into the profession.
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Teach For America – Teaching Irresponsibility « rheality.check 11.9.2008 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

[...] schedule but it doesn’t always work out so well. But I was recently directed to this fabulous article on feministe. And reading that really hit home with [...]
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Barack=Hope. (an awesome non-profit) Teach for America=Action. | elephant journal 1.21.2009 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

[...] They come from all backgrounds and majors and teach in these public schools for two years. Some critics think a two-year stint for an “untrained” teacher is a band-aid for a huge disease. But [...]
72
The “feminism Google Alert” blogaround! « Gender Goggles 4.5.2009 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

[...] what the hell? Feminists don’t blog about work-life balance, affordable childcare, health, education, employment, or violence against women? Who the hell has this reporter been talking [...]
73
What Can We Expect from the Israel Teachers Corps? « The New Jew: Blogging Jewish Philanthropy 4.21.2009 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

[...] Teach For America (TFA) has seen significant success, it has many notable weaknesses as well. Based on this description of criteria, the Israel Teachers Corps seems vulnerable to these [...]

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