Gergen On TFA…Plus, Today’s Progressive To Do List!

OK, so he wasn’t Deep Throat…nevertheless David Gergen lets the cat out of the bag in a great U.S. News piece on Teach For America:

As you can imagine, skeptics have popped up all along the way: professors at schools of education scoffing that college graduates who haven’t enrolled in formal teacher education will never succeed in the classroom; cynics who say that these are a just bunch of elitist kids punching their tickets to make it into law or business school who will then turn their backs on social reform. Well, the doubters just don’t get this young generation.

A year ago, Mathematica Policy Research found that students of Teach for America recruits got better results in math and the same gains in reading as did those of other teachers, including veteran instructors. In math, the TFA students made a month more progress than other students. The results partly reflect the fact that 70 percent of Teach for America volunteers come from among the nation’s most highly rated colleges, compared with fewer than 3 percent of other teachers; the results also reflect the passion that these volunteers bring to their work.

Dedicated to the cause. The 10,000 alumni of TFA have not turned their backs after their service, either. The organization says that nearly two thirds still work full time in education, most in low-income communities. TFA alum Jason Kamras, a math teacher in a Washington, D.C., public school, was just named national teacher of the year. Two other alumni, Mike Feinberg and David Levin, founded and now run what is probably the most successful set of charter schools in the country: the KIPP academies (Knowledge Is Power Program). Started in Houston and New York, the academies have become a network of 38 schools in low-income communities that demand extra studies by students, balance that with extracurricular activities like martial arts, music, chess, and sports, and–guess what?–have achieved the largest and quickest improvement in learning around the country. No fewer than 25 principals in KIPP schools are alumni of Teach for America.

Education To Do list for self-anointed progressives:
  1. Stop public charter schools
  2. Stop Teach For America
  3. Complain about Robert Gordon and TNR.

It’s almost as if there are conservatives on both sides of the debate…

Update: Yes, yes…per several emails this says nothing about stopping NCLB but #4 sort of covers that, no?

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