Thursday, February 24, 2011

TFA teachers are worse than regularly certified teachers

Given time, they might catch up; but 80% leave by end of third year

Let's get something straight about Teach for America, or other "alternatively certified" teachers:
"...studies indicate that the students of novice TFA teachers perform significantly less well in reading and mathematics than those of credentialed beginning teachers."
That's from a meta-study "Teach for America: A Review of the Evidence" by two university researchers for the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. The study concludes "TFA is likely not a panacea that will reduce disparities in educational outcomes." That's an understatement. The report points out that 50 percent of TFA teachers leave the profession after two years, and 80 percent have left by the end of their third year. Other research shows that for all teachers the first two or three years of their careers are their least productive and most trying. School districts also bear significant educational and financial penalties for the short careers of TFA grads:
"Recruiting and training replacements for teachers who leave involves financial costs, and the higher  achievement gains associated with experienced teachers and lower turnover may be lost as well."
It's well past time to put to rest the canard that "many of the schools nationwide doing the best job closing the racial and economic achievement gap are staffed by instructors who were trained in effective, intensive strategies by groups like Teach for America and The New Teacher Project," as reported at Minnpost. More TFA means a worse education for our most needy children, and more expense for our school districts.

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