Tuesday, March 08, 2011

On losing credibility

The fate of fibbers

In this morning’s Star Tribune, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan [indistinct muttering under breath] had a glowing op-ed about Minnesota’s new alternate licensure statute, signed yesterday. One of the things he glowed about was this:

Teach For America, the nation's best-known alternative certification program, has made teaching a hot profession again for an entire generation of bright, committed college graduates. But to operate in Minnesota, TFA had to receive a special waiver.

Of course, now it will be much easier to bring in these five-week wonders to a low income school near you.

But as is so often the case when I read absurd remarks like this, it puts me in mind of something that Rob Levine wrote:

TFA teachers are worse than regularly-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."

And as always, Rob has the goods to back him up.

TFA teachers can catch up, but most of them are gone before they do. (They only actually commit to teach for two years.) The TFAers aren’t entering a profession; it’s just a little resume builder. Many TFAers probably don’t even realize they’re pawns in a much bigger political game.

But here’s the point. When you catch someone in an audacious, barefaced lie in court, it destroys his credibility for anything he says.

And Arne Duncan is a liar.

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