Teacher Preparation Is Essential to TFA's Future
I did not attend Teach For America ’s recent 20th-anniversary celebration, but I hope to be present for its 30th-year gala. In 2021, I look forward to recognizing the entry of TFA’s highly talented recruits into our nation’s top teacher education programs, where they will launch their long-term careers as dynamic, skilled professional educators.
Yes, my vision is that in 10 years, the United States, like other high-achieving nations, will recruit top teaching candidates, prepare them well in state-of-the-art training programs (free of charge), and support them for career-long success in high-quality schools. Today, by contrast, teachers go into debt to enter a career that pays noticeably less than their alternatives—especially if they work in high-poverty schools— and reach the profession through a smorgasbord of training options, from excellent to awful, often followed by little mentoring or help. As a result, while some teachers are well prepared, many students in needy schools experience a revolving door of inexperienced and underprepared teachers.
TFA was created because of this problem, sending recruits from elite colleges for a two-year commitment in high-need schools after a five-week summer boot camp. Last year, TFA sent about 8,000 teachers into 39 of the nation’s 14,000 districts—constituting about 3 percent of the nation’s...
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