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Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:24 PM

Teach For America

My Niece will graduate this year and is looking at "Teach For America." I don't know much about this organization but from what I can see, I don't think I like it.

It seems that they are placing pretty inexperienced recent grads in schools with minimal training and sort of hoping for the best.

Further, it seems as if this "playground" for teaching/resume building is done at the expense of poorer communities and those most disadvantaged youth needing the best teachers.

Also, it seems to attack union teachers.

Am I reading this wrong?

Is this a good outfit?

Should I speak my mind to my Niece?

Thank you for your input!!

20 replies, 1401 views

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Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
Reply Teach For America (Original post)
maryland native Jan 2013 OP
duffyduff Jan 2013 #1
Sancho Jan 2013 #2
Nye Bevan Jan 2013 #3
madfloridian Jan 2013 #16
maryland native Jan 2013 #4
duffyduff Jan 2013 #8
maryland native Jan 2013 #10
duffyduff Jan 2013 #12
maryland native Jan 2013 #13
duffyduff Jan 2013 #14
madfloridian Jan 2013 #17
MadHound Jan 2013 #5
maryland native Jan 2013 #6
duffyduff Jan 2013 #9
Nye Bevan Jan 2013 #7
The Midway Rebel Jan 2013 #18
maryland native Jan 2013 #11
TexasBushwhacker Jan 2013 #20
auntsue Jan 2013 #15
The Midway Rebel Jan 2013 #19

Response to maryland native (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:27 PM

1. You are right, and you should talk your niece out of it

Teach for America is a scab operation designed to undermine teaching as a profession.

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Response to maryland native (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:29 PM

2. Stay away from TFA...

it's a long story, but if she wants to teach she needs a good teacher education program with clinical practice.

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Response to maryland native (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:40 PM

3. I think it's great, but it's very competitive.

Only about 12% of applicants are accepted; I think you have to a pretty high achiever to have much chance. TFA teachers receive normal salary and benefits so I don't understand the "attack union teachers" complaint.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:27 AM

16. Districts must pay thousands to TFA for each recruit. Here's some figures.

Sacramento may pay Teach for America 2.7 million to bring them to their city..

Sacramento is a finalist for Teach for America, a program that sends highly motivated college graduates into troubled schools. As a community, Sacramento would have to raise $2.7 million within the next month to become one of three cities to which the program will expand next year. The Morgan Family Foundation has already pledged $600,000 over the next three years.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has been pulling for Teach for America to expand to Sacramento. Johnson was on the national board, and his fiancée, Washington, D.C., schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, taught with Teach For America in Baltimore.

Teach For America would require Sacramento school districts to take 30 of its teachers each year for three years for a total of 90 teachers. The $2.7 million would pay for the selection, recruitment and support of those teachers. Salary and benefits would be paid by school districts.

Sacramento City Superintendent Jonathan Raymond said he would use the teachers in the district's persistently struggling schools – specifically for science, math and special education classes. In spite of pending teacher layoffs, the district still needs more of those teachers.


Other cities and costs at the link.

As teachers were laid off, TFA recruits were hired. They are getting lots of money from districts just for recruiting their teachers who only had 5 weeks teacher training.

They often take the jobs away from experienced teachers who are then out of a job.


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Response to maryland native (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:48 PM

4. Teach For America

I think it is important to add that my Niece is not looking at teaching as a career or calling. Her motives seem more to the point that she is burned out from a science curriculum and is looking for a "break."

I don't think teaching should be demeaned as simply a break.

Perhaps she will try teaching, see the importance and joy in it, and pursue it, I don't know.

That said, she appears to be a fairly progressive thinker and believer, so maybe she can see the light!!

But what 22 year old isn't at least a bit progressive..... Not counting the drooling knuckle draggers that will appear in any statistical sampling!

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Response to maryland native (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:55 PM

8. Teaching needs to be reserved for those looking for a long-term career, not something to dabble in

It cheapens the occupation by turning it into a place for temps.

It isn't fair to students in Title I schools to be denied the best teachers, which means those with the experience and maturity for the job, just so a school can hire on the cheap.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:31 PM

10. Title I schools

I am not familiar with that term.

What is a Title I school and what does that mean?

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Response to maryland native (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:50 PM

12. Schools where a certain percentage of students receive free or reduced lunches.

They are the students considered most at risk for dropping out of school, etc.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:54 PM

13. That helps

Thanks for the information.

You proved that teaching can be done by all of us!!

I still want our kids taught by pros, though!

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Response to maryland native (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:01 PM

14. I agree. I have been one. n/t

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Response to maryland native (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:32 AM

17. TFA touts itself as better than trained experienced teachers.

They are not.

Teach for America....its "Savior" syndrome is harming public education.

Ohio Governor Kasich actually said it this way.

"They're going to ride on white horses with white hats into our schools and be able to interject a tremendous amount of enthusiasm, talent, capability and real-world understanding."


Of course that is ridiculous for him to say. Once TFA even offered to train experienced classroom teachers, in spite of the fact they only give 5 weeks training to recruits.

Here's one image problem that Teach For America can't seem to shake: TFA teachers as saviors. The stereotype of their teachers (called corps members) as the great hope coming to save poor students of color from lazy, regular teachers reared it's head again on Wednesday thanks to statements by Ohio governor John Kasich.



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Response to maryland native (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:09 PM

5. Do whatever you have to in order to keep her away from TFA,

 

TFA is being used as another front to attack teacher's unions, and public schools in general. Worse, it deprives students of a real education, and makes the teaching experience absolutely a nightmare for the teachers. Its course(six weeks if I remember correctly) barely touches on the basics, and the TFA candidate is thrown to the wolves, so to speak, with minimal training.

If she wants to teach, then she really needs to go back through a true education program in order to pick up classes on Ed Psych, Child Development, and the ever important Classroom Management. Also, a stint at student teaching is recommended, because that way she can get into teaching with the help of a safety net and good feedback. If she has already graduated from college, then I hate to say it, but if she wants to do it properly, she needs another couple of years in college to pick up all the necessary education courses.

If she is just wanting to find out if she likes teaching, or wants to be a teacher, then tell her to substitute. She can satisfy her curiosity and go from there. Subs are only required to have a college degree, any degree, at most, depending upon the state an district.

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Response to maryland native (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:24 PM

6. Madhound says....

many important things re TFA.

Is this organization a bit like the Charter School stuff that seems to be a rage now?

Gosh, it has been a million years since I was last in school so all of this seems foreign!!

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Response to maryland native (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:58 PM

9. They go hand in hand. n/t

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Response to maryland native (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:49 PM

7. If the program really "attacked unions" you would expect to see a lot of stuff on the UFT website

(United Federation of Teachers) that criticized the program.

Instead, on the UFT website I found a link to a study that showed that TFA teachers outperformed "traditional" teachers in math.

http://www.uft.org/teaching/hot-topics/pathways-to-teaching

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.93.7205&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Perhaps the program is not as anti-union as some here seem to believe?

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 02:51 AM

18. The UTF is not the only teachers union.



http://www.progressivepolicy.org/2011/07/nea-vs-tfa/

And the NEA website search engine conviniently manages to ignore the search term of "TFA" or "Teach for America".

http://www.neamb.com/home.htm

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Response to maryland native (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:40 PM

11. Now I am getting confused...

My Niece is getting a top flight education.

She will be receiving a degree in a hard science at a top flight school (think Jefferson and Virginia!) and she is very intelligent.

My confusion is based on such differing opinions of teaching I seem to be getting.

One side is leaning towards the need for a specific "teaching" curriculum, and the other seems supportive of TFA despite its distance from a formal teaching program.

I know nothing about teaching, other than being on the "receiving" end, and wonder if teacher training trumps hard "knowledge."

Given my very low post count coupled with this charged topic, I don't want to be accused of trolling, so understand my priorities are the children first followed by protection of positions/labor rights. Please don't create a flame war with me in the middle!!

Perhaps to sum it up, my motives are pure!!

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Response to maryland native (Reply #11)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 03:33 AM

20. The teacher needs to know the content, but teaching is a skill in and of itself

You say she's getting a degree in a "hard" science - as opposed to a "soft" science? If she wants to do TFA, she needs to be clear about what she would be willing to teach. They may stick her teaching a class that's a science that isn't really her specialty if she isn't careful. Just so you know, 56% of TFA teachers leave their positions at low income schools after their initial 2 year contract. While there is no evidence that TFA teachers are replacing more experienced teachers in great numbers, since they are hired at the bottom of the pay scale, school districts wanting to save money could certainly hire them over more experienced, fully certified teachers.

I am a certified science teacher and taught for 9 years. I can't imagine going into a classroom without the classes I took in education, adolescent psychology, teaching methods and lesson planning as well the 6 weeks of student teaching I did.




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Response to maryland native (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:16 AM

15. Teaching is not as easy as it looks

It is more that a good knowledge of your subject, although that is necessary. You have to know a whole wagon load of other stuff. Just explaining something or reading something to kids is NOT teaching. The problem with Teach for America is that they think they can do a 6 wk boot camp and then throw them in to sink or swim. Often it is hell for the TfA teacher, the class and the teachers whose classes are nearby. Then The Tf A teacher leaves - disheartened.....and what did those kids learn that year?????

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Response to maryland native (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 02:53 AM

19. Tell her to spend a year a to get a REAL teaching certificate at a real university.

The world will be a better place for it.

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