Teach for America bringing new crop to Nashville this fall

Monday, May 24, 2010 at 12:54pm

Building on Teach For America’s first year inside Metro schools, a class of 60 more recent college graduates is expected to come to Nashville this fall.

Teacher For America, a national organization that trains college graduates before bringing them to low-performing schools, arrived in Nashville last year following a lobbying effort from Mayor Karl Dean and others. The group’s mission is to fight the achievement gap that exists between students of different socio-economic backgrounds. Teach For America teachers are in 39 school districts nationwide.

In the organization’s inaugural run in Nashville, 50 college graduates from around the country were assigned as teachers at some of Nashville’s lowest-performing schools. On Monday, Teach For America announced the addition of another 60 corps members for the 2010-2011 school year, bringing the total number in Nashville to 110.

“We are very pleased with this year’s class of Teach For America teachers,” Director of Schools Jesse Register said in a written statement. “This year’s class ... showed great leadership and dedication. We appreciate this partnership and look forward to working with the new recruits.”

Prior to entering the classroom, selected college graduates must complete an intense training session during the summer. Teach For America corps members are obligated to teach in their schools for two years.

Teach For America proponents argue a sizeable percentage of the group’s teachers remain in their designated schools after their two-year obligation is up, but critics, which includes the local teachers’ union, often criticize the long-term effect of the organization.

Overall, Teach For America is bringing a record 4,500 new teachers to schools nationwide this fall. The organization received more than 46,000 applicants.

In Nashville, 9 percent of the entire graduating class of Vanderbilt University applied for Teach For America. Meanwhile, a whopping 33 percent of Fisk University’s seniors applied. 

6 Comments on this post:

By: shinestx on 5/24/10 at 12:01

Who is funding this program? Is it a NGO, a Federal program, a combination, or something else? What are they teaching these kids? And who is running the "intense training sessions" that these teachers are going through? Are they all required to join the teachers' union? Are they teaching politics, history, social studies? If so, are they going to balance liberal (undoubtedly) with conservative (rarely taught in government schools)? We demand to know this... and would have hoped for this information from the City Paper. Not to worry, I'm embarking on my own fact-finding effort. Oh, and I will make it very public if there is no way that this program is being evaluated.

By: govskeptic on 5/24/10 at 1:19

This could hopefully turn out to be a good thing, unless they
have some political agenda as part of the classes. More
long term helpful would be a Tenn Law that required tenure to be tied to classroom performance versus just some short period
of time in the classroom and some minor interview with a principal.

By: idgaf on 5/26/10 at 3:10

Sounds like another scheme to seperate the taxpayers from thier money with no real return on it.

By: Marymeet on 5/26/10 at 1:41

Teach For America website http://www.teachforamerica.org

"As a Teach For America donor, you have the unique opportunity to directly support the work of more than 24,000 corps members and alumni as they work relentlessly to eliminate the academic achievement gap in our country."

"As a college senior, Wendy Kopp proposed Teach For America's creation in her Princeton University undergraduate thesis. She was convinced that many in her generation were searching for a way to assume a significant responsibility that would make a real difference in the world and that top college students would choose teaching over more lucrative opportunities if a prominent teacher corps existed. As a 21 year-old, Kopp raised $2.5 million of start-up funding, hired a skeleton staff, and launched a grass-roots recruitment campaign. During Teach For America's first year in 1990, 500 men and women began teaching in six low-income communities across the country. Since then, Teach For America's network has grown to over 24,000 individuals. We have become one of the nation’s largest providers of teachers for low-income communities, and we have been recognized for building a pipeline of leaders committed to educational equity and excellence."

Training information http://www.teachforamerica.org/corps/training.htm

30 seconds to find the site, 3 minutes to search and read all of the relevant data,
1.5 minutes to copy and paste.

According to this Harvard study, http://www.gse.harvard.edu/~ngt/Donaldson.TFA.AERA.pdf TFA trained teachers that teach one type of subject or class stay longer than those who are thrown into the soup and told to teach classes they have no training in, i.e., an English teacher assigned to a math class. The more different types of classes, the sooner they left. Wonder why? As to the rest, I leave that to another to wade through.

Sorry idgaf, tax payers not paying.

By: sassydemgrl on 5/26/10 at 3:24

I am a retired educator from a large Midwest city, that would never condone this "BUSINESS" to come and "practice " on our children.I don't care how many "so called hours" they have ,until they actually come into the classroom and begin to address the students, they are NOT PROPERLY TRAINED.Education classes do not a teacher make!
I am also a former union (AFT& NEA) representative(30+ years) and have worked with our Southern fellow educators in attempting to unionize them...to no avail.
NOT THEIR FAULT, most of them recoginize the benefits we have for them.IT'S THESE RIGHT-TO-WORK STATES. NO! THEY WILL NOT HAVE BENEFITS OR PROTECTION FROM UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES.THEY WILL HAVE A LOT OF RESTLESS,UNMOTIVATED,UNCARING, I PAY YOUR SALARY STUDENTS THAT WILL CONFRONT THEM.Less it seems I am putting down the students,I'm not.There are many that really want and know the need to learn. But TEACH FOR AMERICA IS NOT THE GROUP TO BRING IN FOR THESE STUDENTS. Many of them are too young to know how to handle the student of TODAY!
As for the 99% of Vanderbilt students an 33% of FISK students that have applied, when? what year? I am a former Fisk student that went North and finished my education. Unfortunately, I know of a former TFA person that left after the first year because of some of the reasons mentioned.Lack of training and SUPPORT.
We must not look to the NON EDUCATORS TO USE OUR CHILDREN AS GUINEA PIGS FOR EXPERIMENTATION.We must engage & DEMAND our schools of Education to look,recruit ,train and support the "BEST and the BRIGHTEST" FOR THE FUTURE STUDENT/CITIZEN .

By: d4deli on 5/26/10 at 5:16

sassydemgr, unless you have seen these Teach For America students in action, you are not qualified to determine their qualifications. Yes, the classroom is a learning experience.
As Educators, we would do much better to look at our profession as a business. The students don't need us, WE need the students! Without them, we would be out of business.

Passion is a wonderful thing, but it won't take you too far. You need to have passion and fire, and always remember that students ARE our business. Without them, we don't have a job. The Unions were a good idea whose time has already passed. If you don't believe me, look at how many unions there were, and how many are left. They were filled with corruption. Let the teaching begin!