In many ways, debating the comparative effectiveness of teachers prepared through traditional teacher education, Teach for America, or other “short-route” preparation programs distracts us from our central challenge in creating effective 21st century public schools. There is more variation within traditional teacher education and alternative routes like TFA than between them.(1) And indeed, a close examination of research on TFA cohorts suggests that their teaching effectiveness gains are likely due not to their individual dispositions or test scores, but to the additional training and support they receive over their two years in the classroom.(2)
(1) Boyd, D., Grossman, P., Lankford H., Loeb, S. and Wyckoff, J. (2006.) How changes in entry requirements alter the teacher Workforce and affect student achievement. Education Finance and Policy 1,no.2 (Spring):176-216.
(2) Berry, B. (2005, October 19). Teacher quality and the question of preparation. Education Week. Retrieved April 1, 2009 from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/10/19/08berry.h25.html.
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