In his most recent Gadfly commentary, Mike Petrilli writes:
The strategy of opening up the teacher pipeline to non-traditional routes is clearly showing some success, in some areas. (Areas, by the way, that tend to attract young high-flyers; the list of such areas is unfortunately short.) . . But this strategy isn’t showing success at scale. And thanks to our national obsession with “reducing class size,” we boast a teacher workforce of more than three million; teachers coming through TFA and TNTP are a metaphorical drop in the bucket.
The “scaling up” argument on Teach For America is a bit shopworn. It’s true that Teach For America corps members make up a very small percentage of all teachers in public school classrooms. However, I would argue that in our 18 years of existence, we have learned quite a bit about effective recruitment strategies that, with some tweaking, could be applied to traditional teacher preparation settings. There’s nothing preventing such programs from using these strategies to target undergrads in their sophmore year of college. I think we also know quite a bit about how to accelerate teacher learning that has applications for both traditional and alternative teacher preparation programs.
Despite our elitist rap, we do play nice in the sandbox and look for opportunities to share what we have learned—it’s part of what I was brought onboard to do. Drop me a note if you would like to receive a hard copy of our complete program overview or a PowerPoint on our recruitment strategies.
–Guestblogger Michele McLaughlin