Don't disparage Teach for America

  • Article by: Joshua Sosa
  • Updated: June 13, 2013 - 8:51 PM

On Friday, the Minnesota Board of Teaching will vote on a request from Teach For America to renew a variance that streamlines the process allowing principals to hire corps members and finalize their hiring decisions.

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pumiceJun. 13, 1310:08 PM

Re: "I hope to follow in her footsteps as a TFA corps member and have the same impact on my own students one day." Macalester offers a major in Educational Studies emphasizing Teaching & Learning, Joshua Sosa. Educational Studies prepares students for a career as licensed teachers. In addition to content majors/minors and relevant, interesting and challenging elective courses, Macalester's Teaching & Learning emphasis includes courses in Educational Psychology; Philosophy of Education; Race, Culture, and Ethnicity in Education; Education and Emerging Technologies; Teaching and Learning in Urban Schools and Education and Social Change.

Teaching is an admirable career choice; I recommend the preparation Macalester would offer to someone as motivated as your essay indicates you are.

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JesusrulesJun. 13, 1310:25 PM

Your high school sounds excellent! The website says 95% move on to a 4 year institution. It seems like TFA teachers worked at a successful school. I' d be convinced of TFA's value if I see the amount of growth a student makes in a year is equal to or higher than a traditionally trained teacher. The longevity of the teaching career should also be noted since money is tight and TFA teachers often don't last more than two years.

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braxozJun. 14, 1312:36 AM

Jesusrules Jun. 13, 13 10:25 PM Your high school sounds excellent! The website says 95% move on to a 4 year institution. It seems like TFA teachers worked at a successful school. I' d be convinced of TFA's value if I see the amount of growth a student makes in a year is equal to or higher than a traditionally trained teacher. The longevity of the teaching career should also be noted since money is tight and TFA teachers often don't last more than two years.___________ The Chicago Public Schools website states that Pritzker has an 84.5% 5 year grad rate for freshmen and 75% of graduates enrolled in college. (Pritzker is a charter school in the CPS system).

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endothermJun. 14, 13 2:57 AM

I am glad that the writer had a positive experience, but their experience in a selective charter school doesn't really reflect the reality for most students. Also note that the TFA teacher the student mentions was assigned to teach an AP college preparation class at an already advanced school. In other words, the students were already well-prepared for success. This seems like a situation that is far from typical. Most schools would not give their best and most important classes to their least experienced teachers.

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schristeJun. 14, 13 6:52 AM

From their web site - "Pritzker College Prep first opened its doors in 2006, as one of the first expansion campuses. Since then, we have increased our enrollment to over 700 students and have graduated 3 classes of seniors". 700 hundred students out of 113,873 high school students in the Chicago school system - less than one percent (.65%). It is a private college prep school not even close to the issues of public education. Try again.

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jjsbrwJun. 14, 13 7:07 AM

Pritzker is a good school, nobody disputes that. But comparing it to any comprehensive public school is not valid.

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tandabussJun. 14, 13 8:41 AM

Would/has Tom Dooher ever shown the level of commitment to his students?

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gandalf48Jun. 14, 13 9:11 AM

What a well written article and the author brings up some great points. I hope that the MN legislature and the MN teacher's union can make allowances for these dedicated and passionate TFA teachers. There is no reason that these people should be shutout from making a big difference in Minnesota student's lives.

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pumiceJun. 14, 13 9:50 AM

Re: "There is no reason that [TFA] should be shut out from making a big difference in Minnesota student's lives." Except for this, gandalf48: Minnesota has no shortage of fully qualified teachers who have chosen teaching as a career.

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pitufoJun. 14, 13 9:50 AM

If Joshua wants to be both TFA and have educational reform, he should lobby our representatives and legislators to eliminate any "finder's fee" for those schools that hire TFA graduates. Finder's fee for what? This fee is just another burden to our system and we should not be paying a private company to provide us with ill-prepared "teachers". Five weeks and no significant student teaching is not enough training for today's classrooms. I am a career teacher (nearly 30 years) and I see the struggles our new teachers have - and they come from good teacher-training programs. Mr. Sosa writes with typical youthful passion that lacks real-life experience. He will get that as his continues his studies. I hope that if he is dedicated to becoming a teacher, he will let Macalester and the good education program there help him fulfill his dreams.

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