With Teach For America, Who Needs Experience?

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To the Editor:

I found your article “N.C. District Lets Go of Veteran Teachers, But Keeps TFA Hires” (June 17, 2009) strangely satisfying. I have been waiting for the Teach For America idea to be taken to its logical extreme. Why not have TFA, and other organizations like it, simply take over the profession? (Is “profession” still the right word?)

If the young, energetic people from our top colleges are the best candidates to staff schools, then North Carolina has taken the first grand step in dealing with what has been considered a complex problem. The answer is simple: Let these energetic and smart young folks be our nation’s teachers—they are just as effective, and cheaper.

Even though the great majority of TFA recruits have no inclination to remain teaching in classrooms for more than a couple years, that is OK. There will be newer replacements graduating from Harvard and Yale to take their place. We can tell education policy experts such as Linda Darling-Hammond to simply stop worrying about how to overhaul teacher education, since entrepreneurs like Wendy Kopp, TFA’s founder, have it figured out.

It is tiring to maintain one’s belief that wisdom, experience, and knowledge of pedagogy are important to teaching when so many education policymakers continuously make decisions that reflect a contrary opinion. Thank you, North Carolina.

Liz Wisniewski
Newburyport, Mass.

Vol. 28, Issue 36, Page 27

Published in Print: July 15, 2009, as With Teach For America, Who Needs Experience?
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