Friday, February 20, 2009

Studies Show Teach for America Teachers Are...

Is it 2 times or 100 times better?

A growing body of research shows Teach for America instructors' impact on student academic achievement is two to three times that of teachers who have three years of experience.
- The Detroit News


A new federal study on teacher quality has found that teachers who enter
teaching through an alternative route have roughly the same impact on
student achievement as teachers who come from regular teacher education
programs.


What's the Best Way to Make Teachers?



February 11, 2009 01:28 PM ET | Eddy
Ramírez
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A new federal study on teacher quality has found that teachers who enter
teaching through an alternative route have roughly the same impact on
student achievement as teachers who come from regular teacher education
programs. The results of
the study, commissioned by the federal Department of Education, could spur
more states to consider changes to teacher training and hiring practices.

For years, a debate has raged over the effectiveness of teachers who come
from programs that prepare noneducation majors for the classroom. These
alternative programs allow recent college graduates or midcareer
professionals to teach-in many cases at the most challenging schools-while
taking classes to obtain a teaching certificate. The most well-known
alternative certification programs are Teach for America and New York City
Teaching Fellows. (This study measured the quality of teachers from less
selective programs.)

Some education leaders argue that teachers from alternative certification
programs are less effective and less likely to stick around because they
walk into a classroom with little, if any, preparation. Teachers from
traditional certification programs are fully certified by the time they
start teaching. (Read more about the
he-grade-at-challenged-schools-criticism-aside.html> teacher quality
debate.)

But the new study by researchers from Mathematica Policy Research found that
students of teachers who chose to enter the profession through an
alternative route performed the same on tests as students of teachers who
chose a traditional route to teaching. It made no significant difference
whether traditionally certified teachers had taken more coursework or
received more training than teachers with alternative certification.

Researchers analyzed the math and reading test scores of 2,600 students in
63 schools in six states. They compared students from the same schools who
were randomly assigned to teachers from alternative certification programs
or regular teacher education programs.

How much do you know about the credentials of your child's teacher? Did he
or she enter teaching through an alternative or traditional route? Do you
think it makes a difference?






Friday, February 20, 2009
Editorial: Bring 'Marine Corps' of teachers to Detroit schools
The Detroit News

Imagine America's best instructors happily coming to work in Detroit's poorest, toughest classrooms -- and the city throws them out. It has happened once before, and it could happen again if Michigan doesn't get smart.

This week Teach for America -- a nonprofit that prepares and places highly talented educators in struggling schools -- met with Gov. Jennifer Granholm and other state leaders about coming back to Michigan.

Teach for America members served in the Detroit Public Schools from 2001 to 2003.

As the district's student population fell, union leaders argued the Teach for America members were taking jobs and demanded their ouster. The school district capitulated, and about 50 Teach for America instructors left.

The ouster was not only wrong for the Teach for America members, it also robbed Detroit students of what was likely their best chance at a high-quality education comparable with suburban schools.

A growing body of research shows Teach for America instructors' impact on student academic achievement is two to three times that of teachers who have three years of experience.

For example, a Louisiana state report last year found many of such Teach for America-trained educators were more effective at teaching math, reading and language arts than other teachers with two or more years of experience.

Consider them the Marine Corps of teachers for America's poorest urban and rural schools.

This alone is enough for Granholm to insist Teach for America comes back to Michigan, but there are other reasons for its return.

Teach for America is a two-year voluntary program that recruits high-achieving young college graduates expressly for placement in schools that are difficult to staff -- precisely the schools where many union teachers become burned out. And Teach for America members pay union dues.

New Detroit Federation of Teachers union President Keith Johnson often says he wants the most talented teachers in Detroit classrooms. He needs to back up his verbal commitment with action. He can start by supporting Teach for America.

A trickier obstacle: Michigan doesn't allow people to become teachers through an alternative pathway such as Teach for America's rigorous training program, rather than a traditional teacher certification program. (The nonprofit wants such a pathway because many of its members still want to teach after they finish their two-year service.)

Granholm should push policymakers to quickly address this problem by pointing out that traditional teacher-preparation programs do not equate with teacher quality.

Michigan should be moving toward a teacher certification system that weighs teachers' impact on student achievement, rather than on the classes that they take.

Teach for America is enthusiastic about a return to Detroit. "Frankly, there is a clear need to see that community close its achievement gap," says Ify Offor, Teach for America's vice president of new site development.

The United Way of Southeastern Michigan is working to bring Teach for America volunteers to the region's worst schools -- including those in Oakland and Macomb counties -- by fall 2010.

To do that, Teach for America needs Lansing's support now. Michigan, bring on the Marine Corps of

3 comments:

D said...

I really hope those in Lansing are reading this...as well as those in TFA!

Katie said...

I used to think Teach for America was a great thing... Until I realized that they are taking jobs that should go to qualified, certified teachers. I graduated magna cum laude with my bachelors degree in Secondary Education/English, and I cannot get hired by the St. Louis Public School system because too many Teach for America "teachers" have filled up all the spots. Something is severely wrong with this picture. I went through the required channels to obtain my Missouri teaching certification, and I'm out of a job because someone with lesser credentials has been given a spot that should belong to me.

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