Posted by: Bill | April 30, 2009

Restricting TFA

Most of this WSJ article (subscription may be required) is the usual lavishing of praise on TFA for attracting the best and the brightest at elite colleges into teaching for two years. After these two years, about a third continue teaching and another third stay in education in some other capacity (such as working for ABCTE). It also talks about how most of the districts they operate in cap the number of teachers they can place. This is clearly anti-competitive.

But why have any caps? Teach for America young people should be able to compete on equal terms with any other new teaching applicant. The fact that they can’t is another example of how unions and the education establishment put tenure and power above student achievement.

If teachers from traditional routes are so much better, lift the caps and let them compete one one one. What is the establishment afraid of? The reverse logic obviously applies as well. If TFA produces better teachers, the hiring authorities in districts will reward them with jobs. I would argue for the same treatment of ABCTE teachers as well when they look for jobs. As our numbers have grown within states and, especially, districts, our brand has strengthened. This is not due to anything that happened here on 19th St, but rather from our alumni making a strong impression in those districts.

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