So-called reformers want to get rid of bad teachers, yet they talk about how wonderful it is that, after 5 weeks of training, TFA students go into schools and "teach." This topic has been covered before, but the point is, as Valerie Strauss makes below, that teachers need to be trained and trained well. High achievement at an Ivy League University does not guarantee top quality teaching. Good teachers usually take years to develop, through training and experience. The neediest schools into which TFA trainees go need the best teachers we have to offer, not the ones with the least training.
"I don’t think that people with great SAT scores who go to Ivy League and Ivy League-plus schools are necessarily any better fit to be teachers than students who don’t. That reeks of elitism. Aren’t you the one who wrote the great book Harvard Schmarvard?
"Teaching is not a science, even if Michelle Rhee says it is; it is an art, and it requires a lot of learning. Because many traditional educational programs are wanting doesn’t mean that teachers don’t need serious solid training. It means our programs need to be improved. The idea that TFA/similar programs are any better at producing them than the traditional route seems, at best, unproven.
"Can you get a great teacher by plopping anybody -- from Teach for America, or similar programs -- into a classroom after five or so weeks of training? Sure, but outliers don’t make good policy. I won’t mention how insulting it is to professional teachers with traditional training."