To the Editor:
Having realized, albeit reluctantly, that there is more to successful teaching than content knowledge and enthusiasm, Teach For America endeavored shortly after its inception to expand and deepen the preservice and in-service preparation of its candidates—oftentimes through affiliations with higher education teacher-preparation programs. It is gratifying, again, to see the organization adopt professional-development practices that have long been a mainstay of university-based preparation and induction programs (“Growth Model,” In Perspective, Sept. 16, 2009).
Considering how well-funded TFA is, in comparison to professional-development funding in the teaching profession generally, this new support should prove beneficial to its participants, even if its impact may also be short-lived, given corps members’ high attrition rates.
As your article shows, TFA is evolving. Perhaps it won’t be too much longer until the program acknowledges that it is in everyone’s best interest not to prepare teachers (content knowledge and enthusiasm aside) on the backs of the pre-K-12 students in their charge.
School of Education
Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park, Calif.
A version of this article appeared in the October 14, 2009 edition of Education Week as Teaching Is More Than Content and Enthusiasm