Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor

TFA Plays a Crucial, ‘Effective’ Role

July 09, 2013 1 min read

To the Editor:

In his recent post about Teach For America on edweek.org, opinion blogger John Wilson names “Madison Avenue” and “Wall Street” among the organization’s most dedicated advocates (“More Vetoes of Teach For America Needed,” John Wilson Unleashed, June 3, 2013). As a principal in west Charlotte, N.C., I live and work far from either place. But if there’s a list of believers in the work of this organization, I want my name near the top.

Based on my experience, Teach For America is a sound public investment for North Carolina and other states. As a principal serving high-need students, nothing is more important to me than having strong leaders in my classrooms. It’s critical for me to be able to consider high-potential candidates from a wide range of proven, effective pathways.

TFA provides one important route. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has identified corps members as the state’s most effective early-career teachers in a report issued this past February.

Every day, our teachers from all backgrounds come together to do whatever it takes for our kids and the low-income community we serve. Many are corps members. Many others are alumni of the program who are now taking on broader leadership roles. They are master-teachers, grade-level and department chairs, and, I suspect, a few principals in the making.

Above all else, our team believes in what’s possible in public education—not for some kids, but for all. And, together, we’re proving it. Since my colleagues and I started work at Ashley Park PreK-8 School four years ago, student proficiency scores as measured by the North Carolina End-of-Grade Test have increased across the board—65 percentage points in science, 31 in math, 30 in reading. In this, TFA has been key.

I don’t envy the difficult decisions legislators must make about where to direct resources in tough times. But I do know what it takes to get kids career- and college-ready, and I believe that Teach For America deserves support.

Tonya Kales


Ashley Park PreK-8 School

Charlotte, N.C.

A version of this article appeared in the July 11, 2013 edition of Education Week as TFA Plays a Crucial, ‘Effective’ Role

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Teaching Profession After a Stillbirth, This Teacher Was Denied Paid Leave for Recovery. Here's Her Story
A District of Columbia teacher delivered a stillborn baby and was denied paid maternity leave. Her story, told here, is not uncommon.
6 min read
Illustration of a woman.
Teaching Profession Opinion What Your Students Will Remember About You
The best teachers care about students unconditionally but, at the same time, ask them to do things they can’t yet do.
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Teaching Profession High Risk for COVID-19 and Forced Back to Class: One Teacher's Story
One theater teacher in Austin has a serious heart condition and cancer, but was denied the ability to work remotely. Here is her story.
9 min read
Austin High School musical theater teacher and instructional coach Annie Dragoo has three underlying health conditions noted by the CDC as being high-risk for coronavirus complications, but was denied a waiver to continue working from home in 2021.
Austin High School musical theater teacher and instructional coach Annie Dragoo has three underlying health conditions noted by the CDC as being high-risk for coronavirus complications, but was denied a waiver to continue working from home in 2021.
Julia Robinson for Education Week
Teaching Profession Photos What Education Looked Like in 2020
A visual recap of K-12 education in 2020 across the United States.
1 min read
On Sept. 24, 2020, distance learners are seen on a laptop held by teacher Kristen Giuliano who assists student Jane Wood, 11, in a seventh-grade social studies class at Dodd Middle School in Cheshire, Conn. Many schools around the state have closed temporarily during the school year because of students or staff testing positive for COVID-19. Within the first week of November 2020, nearly 700 students and more than 300 school staff around Connecticut tested positive, according to the state Department of Public Health.
Teacher Kristen Giuliano assists Jane Wood, 11, during a 7th grade social studies class in September at Dodd Middle School in Cheshire, Conn., while other students join the class remotely from home.
Dave Zajac/Record-Journal via AP