Wednesday, June 27, 2007

TFA and Teacher Retention

Barnett Barry who runs the Center for Teaching Quality has a thoughtful post at his blog about Teach for America and the tendency of TFA teachers to leave teaching as soon as their two-year commitment is up:
Finding a Better Way to Recruit, Prepare, and Retain Good Teachers

This past week both the Washington Post and CNN posted stories on Teach for America (TFA). Since its inception in 1990, TFA has done a great deal of important work to recruit elite universities’ graduates, entice them to teach in the most underserved communities, and encourage them to bring energy and commitment to school reform. Last year, 17,000 college graduates applied for the program, including 12 percent of Yale’s graduating seniors. Only one in eight TFA applicants was selected for the program. With our nation’s public schools needing to hire 200,000 new teachers annually, why not TFA?

However, TFA’s five-week crash preparation program and its two-year enlistment commitment do not work in the long-term interest of the children. Because of its truncated training regime, TFA recruits do not learn much about teaching literacy, developing and using new assessments, and working with students whose first language is not English.

Read the rest here.


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