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Urban Education and (TF) America: The Benefits and Challenges of Alternate Route Teacher Education. Anika Burtin, Former Faculty at Johns Hopkins Mariah Dickinson, Former TFA Corps Member Heidi Oliver-O’Gilvie, Center for Urban Education Taharee Jackson, Center for Urban Education.

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urban education and tf america the benefits and challenges of alternate route teacher education

Urban Education and (TF) America: The Benefits and Challenges of Alternate Route Teacher Education

Anika Burtin, Former Faculty at Johns Hopkins

Mariah Dickinson, Former TFA Corps Member

Heidi Oliver-O’Gilvie, Center for Urban Education

Taharee Jackson, Center for Urban Education

center for urban education
Center for Urban Education
  • Inception: 2010 at the University of the District of Columbia (HBCU)
  • Designed to prepare highly effective teachers for urban schools
  • Mission: Cull best practices, research, and innovations from all models for the benefit of all students
overview
Overview
  • Perspectives from:

1. Former faculty of TFA “National Partner” institution

2. Former TFA Corps Member

    • CUE faculty, Urban professional development
    • CUE faculty , Urban/multicultural school reform
    • Suggestions, solutions, and solidarity in action
    • Open Dialogue – your voice!

“The price of a complaint is a suggestion.

The cost of a discovery is action.”

the emperor s new clothes a discussion of tfa s impact on teacher education

The Emperor’s New Clothes:A Discussion of TFA’s Impact on Teacher Education

Dr. Anika Spratley Burtin

Center for Urban Education

The University of the District of Columbia

the fallacy
The Fallacy
  • We are convincing ourselves of that we are achieving success in education and “closing the achievement gap.”
  • Something very different is going on, but few people will speak up.
teach for america university partnerships
Teach for America & University Partnerships
  • Differing goals
    • Schools of Education are interested in preparing teachers— “career teachers”
    • Teach for America is interested in preparing its Corps Members to be leaders in the field of education – not “career teachers”
      • Driven by the politics of education
    • Schools of Education sometimes change their programs in order make the partnership more appealing
      • JHU has adopted a completely online training program for Teach for America students enrolled in the Masters program
      • Some schools now use the TFA curriculum and senior TFA teachers as the basis for some of their teacher education courses
teach for america way vs schools of education
Teach for America “Way” vs. Schools of Education
  • Teach for America trains their Corps members to approach teaching in a specific way
    • Doesn’t require the critical thinking necessary for successful classroom teaching
    • Presents teaching as a step-by-step approach that translates into success (EX: Lemov)
    • One-size-fits-all model
  • Corps members enrolled in Schools of Education may experience tension between their TFA training and the perspectives presented in their classes
  • Corps members often need more than their summer training
in their own words
In Their Own Words . . .
  • “My kids don’t learn anything; all they do is practice things. . . . I would like to be able to teach.”
  • “Going from zero experience to full-blown teacher in a month is borderline absurd. . . . I was in no way prepared to deal with what I perceived to be constant failure at the beginning of the year.”
                  • (Cuddapah, J.L. & Burtin, A.S., Educational Leadership, May 2012)
districts and teach for america
Districts and Teach for America
  • Many urban districts have decided that TFA is “the answer”
  • Often TFA corps members receive preferential treatment in hiring
    • District of Columbia, Baltimore, New Orleans
  • This creates a “revolving door” in schools
    • Ultimately students suffer from lack of stability and continuity
  • Top performing districts tend to rely on a veteran staff that has obtained advanced degrees
    • Montgomery County vs. Baltimore City
concluding thoughts
Concluding Thoughts
  • We have to have an honest assessment of what is going on in education—especially urban education.
  • We have to figure out how everyone can change in order to bring about the success we claim we want for our children.
  • Someone has to speak up—The Emperor is naked and what we are doing isn’t working.
tfa we can do better

TFA: We Can Do Better

Mariah Dickinson

my high expectations
My High Expectations
  • Joined because of mission statement
  • End educational inequity
  • Expected radical action
tfa s expectations
TFA's Expectations
  • Work will close the "achievement gap"
  • How?
  • Inexperienced corps members in the place of career teachers
disclaimer
Disclaimer
  • Speaking from my experience
  • Not targeting individuals
  • TFA is a systemic problem
institute
Institute
  • 5 week training course for corps members
  • "Work hard, get smart!"
  • Achievement gap and locus of control
  • Boot camp environment - unsustainable
in the classroom
In the Classroom
  • Lack of community awareness
  • Diversity sessions
  • Training in subject area
reimagining tfa
Reimagining TFA
  • Education supporters
  • Support teachers, not take their place
  • Use their energy positively
the cost of tfa literally politically and professionally

The Cost of TFA: Literally, Politically, and Professionally

Dr. Heidi Oliver-O’Gilvie

Center for Urban Education

University of the District of Columbia

a few averages
A Few Averages
  • Teaching Experience
    • 1988 – 14 years
    • 2010 – 3 Years
  • Professional Development Expenses Per Year
    • $7,700
  • Replacement Cost When Teachers Exit
    • $10,000 - $18,300
teacher education and preparation
Teacher Education and Preparation
  • Alternative and Speed Preparation
    • TFA/RtT/NTP – 15 to 20 hours teaching experience
    • *Educates and prepares teachers for $2000 - $5000
  • Master of Education / Accelerated Teacher Education
    • 540 hours teaching experience
    • $23,000
  • Traditional Teacher Education (Bachelor)
    • 1,080 hours teaching experience
    • $36,000 (in-state public institution)
urban schools
Urban Schools
  • Found in densely populated cities
  • Engage more than 85% minority students
  • Employ greater numbers of new teachers
  • Scores of teachers lack genuine interest
  • Higher attrition rates
  • Struggle to attain notable academic success
  • Curricula and resources are scripted and prescribed
career teachers
Career Teachers
  • Every business executive in the country understands that tenure in leadership is important to ensuring momentum, continuity, and results.
challenges are fueled and decided
Challenges are Fueled and Decided
  • After we consider who is valuable v. who is not?
  • After we decide which spaces we will have high standards for and which spaces we will hold no great expectations
the big picture tfa teacher education and urban education reform
The Big Picture: TFA, Teacher Education, and Urban Education Reform
  • Benefits of TFA and alternate-route certification programs:
    • Causes teacher education to “rethink” itself
    • Increase scrutiny in the profession of teaching
    • Provides short-term solution to long-term attrition
    • Creates powerful network of leaders in education
    • Grants “exposure” to realities of urban education
challenges of speed preparation
Challenges of “Speed Preparation”
  • Disproportionately assigns least experienced teachers to most deserving students
  • Supplies low-salary labor
  • Deskilling/de-professionalization of teachers
  • “Busts unions” and career/veteran teachers
  • Contributes to divestment in urban public education
  • Enhances neoliberal agenda
suggestions solutions solidarity
Suggestions, Solutions, Solidarity
  • Structure TFA and alternate route programs as induction models

EX: National Child Resource Center (NCRC)

  • Extend clinical field placements for all programs

EX: UDC

  • RE-professionalize teaching as a career

EX: Deskilling of teachers

4. Prioritize urban, public school students as the most deserving of the best-prepared teachers!