TFA...wait a sec.....

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radical4peace
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby radical4peace » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:41 pm

I am wondering this: What do adcoms think about our leaving the teaching profession? Not many people get a JD and return to the classroom. Our applications serve as a symbol of the poor teacher-retention rates across this country. We might have been hard-working, bright-eyed, hopeful champions of education for two years here, five years there, but now we are all in hot pursuit of a new career. (I say this simply to start a discussion, as I personally feel that if you spend any amount of time teaching in high-needs public schools, you are forever affected by your experiences. Just wanted to give you guys something to argue about. :wink: )


I think you raise an excellent point. After doing two years with TFA in Camden, I knew I needed to get out. Just for sanity's sake. Now, I'm teaching at an excellent charter school for low-income students and it's a completely different experience. I absolutely love 90% of the time I spend in the classroom (minus the "Who threw this?" lines of questioning that inevitably occur in middle school classrooms), but I still feel the need to do something different with my life. I just don't see myself being as fulfilled as I am now when I am say, 40. I am definitely going into public interest law and I want to focus on issues of educational equality. But do I sometimes feel a little guilty about this? Yes. And do I still believe that a good teacher (TFA or otherwise) is one of the most important resources this country has? Yes.

In terms of the TFA debate in general, I think people are right that TFA is headlined for its selectivity. Other effective teachers in low-income teachers deserve the same recognition, and I hope they get it. I also agree that TFA is way below Iraq war veteran but certainly way above some other "softs." Anyone who has taught in/spent an extended period of time in low-income schools gets certain things about this country. If you haven't seen it firsthand, it's difficult to explain. But the people who have this experience and dedication deserve a boost.

upsnyf
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby upsnyf » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:51 pm

My son never planned on doing TFA. He planned on going to law school, and will. He will have more influence and success in changing the inner city school situation as a politician vs. a teacher. It is a good thing. Why complain about that?

upsnyf
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby upsnyf » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:10 am

My son is teaching at one of the top ten schools slated to close due to violence. TFA may be "glorious", to some degree. I can't wait until it is over and I know that he is safe.

aspiringlawyer
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby aspiringlawyer » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:53 am

I think it's a huge exaggeration that most other, non-TFA teachers stay in the profession for 30 years. This might be true in a high income area, but where I teach we lose at least 30% of the staff every year. Last year we lost about 15 out of the 40 teachers. The year before that, over 20 were gone. Very few were transferred to other schools, but many quit because they couldn't take it anymore. I am also the only TFA person at my school. Some of the ones who transferred went to one of the neighboring counties, which is one of the top public school system sin the country.

By the way, it was a HUGE deal in the teachers lounge the other day when one of the teachers was talking about how he had been teaching at our school for 6 years.

jrs12
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby jrs12 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:29 am

TFA is not a volunteer activity. Corp members get paid a full salary, plus a free masters degree. Starting salaries for teachers are pretty good, though the long term earning potential is not fantastic. Also, since its inception, TFA has been marketed as a way for top students to develop valuable work experience.

Most corp members I know (and I don't have enough digits to count them, including some who have stayed on in an admin capacity) went into TFA because they didn't know what they wanted to do. Instead of waiting tables, they got another degree, great work experience, and a nice salary.

Things to keep in mind (relevant to both sides of the debate):
- As a whole, there is no evidence to suggest that TFA corp members are more effective than other teachers.
- TFA members have significantly higher SAT scores than the average education student.
- Many corp members are future leaders of this country, and they will have a better understanding and more sympathy for the problems that face America's lowest performing schools.
- Some corp members will stay on, eventually developing into master teachers after a decade or so.
- It takes passion and energy to make a difference in poor schools. After two years, many teachers have spent all that they had.
- Many students view corp members with skepticism, because they know that they will be gone in a year or two. It is not necessarily beneficial to a student to develop a close relationship and then leave before he/she has graduated.

I have nothing but respect for the difficulty of teaching in under-performing schools. I have worked with kids from some of America's worst neighborhoods, and it is emotionally exhausting. Nevertheless, I am skeptical of the overall effect of the corp. It has always seemed to me like a program that benefits its participants far more than the students. (Clearly, not to suggest that there is no benefit to the students).

upsnyf
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby upsnyf » Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:34 am

TFA teachers do not need to let the administration or their students know that they are part of the TFA program. My son's principal and his students don't know. It is up to the teacher to disclose that.

SDGirl
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby SDGirl » Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:36 am

jrs12 wrote:TFA is not a volunteer activity. Corp members get paid a full salary, plus a free masters degree. Starting salaries for teachers are pretty good, though the long term earning potential is not fantastic. Also, since its inception, TFA has been marketed as a way for top students to develop valuable work experience.

Most corp members I know (and I don't have enough digits to count them, including some who have stayed on in an admin capacity) went into TFA because they didn't know what they wanted to do. Instead of waiting tables, they got another degree, great work experience, and a nice salary.

Things to keep in mind (relevant to both sides of the debate):
- As a whole, there is no evidence to suggest that TFA corp members are more effective than other teachers.
- TFA members have significantly higher SAT scores than the average education student.
- Many corp members are future leaders of this country, and they will have a better understanding and more sympathy for the problems that face America's lowest performing schools.
- Some corp members will stay on, eventually developing into master teachers after a decade or so.
- It takes passion and energy to make a difference in poor schools. After two years, many teachers have spent all that they had.
- Many students view corp members with skepticism, because they know that they will be gone in a year or two. It is not necessarily beneficial to a student to develop a close relationship and then leave before he/she has graduated.

I have nothing but respect for the difficulty of teaching in under-performing schools. I have worked with kids from some of America's worst neighborhoods, and it is emotionally exhausting. Nevertheless, I am skeptical of the overall effect of the corp. It has always seemed to me like a program that benefits its participants far more than the students. (Clearly, not to suggest that there is no benefit to the students).


Hmm... I don't agree with everything you said there. First of all, corps members don't get a masters degree for free. They get a discount, but it's definitely not free. Secondly, I don't know anybody who would put themselves through all that stress and hard work just because they didn't know what else to do with their lives. The program is highly selective and the people who join it for simply getting a resume boost end up dropping out during institute (as I've heard from people in the program). I don't think anybody would be willing to do all that work just to make $35,000 a year and have something to write on their resume. There are a lot of jobs that pay way better than that and take a lot less work/emotional stress.

I may be biased as my boyfriend and a lot of my close friends are corps members, but I think the people who end up doing TFA are highly dedicated individuals who truly want to help fix the huge education gap in this country, even if it's just for two years. These are usually people who would have been able to get into wonderful grad programs, even without the TFA "boost." I just don't think the work they do or the recognition they get should be dismissed so quickly...

Also, check this out (if you're really interested). It has hard data about how effective TFA teachers are... http://www.teachforamerica.org/assets/d ... 6.9.04.pdf

upsnyf
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby upsnyf » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:04 am

Hmmm, wow. My son's master's degree was completely paid for through TFA. As far as I know the program is a requirement and paid for. Can anyone else chime in on this?

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fluffy
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby fluffy » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:24 am

prezidentv8 wrote:Okay let me rephrase...

I know what it is, tell me why it's special. I've been reading up and down their site...and all I can think is, "okay, you're a teacher, probably at a place that's underprivileged."

I get that it's hard work.
I get that it's positive work.

I don't get why it's more special than anything else that has those qualities.


It's not. I was a NYC Teaching Fellow (another TFA-type program) and attended night classes while teaching high school for three years in one of the highest needs neighborhoods in the city. The school was also new, which meant we had to build everything from scratch with few resources. TFA's allure is that it has a national reputation, and I'm sure its participants work hard, but they carry a somewhat laughable rep among "real" teachers and those of us in other alternative certificaton programs. Generally, TFA participants consider themselves participants in "the program" of TFA; the rest of us see ourselves as teachers in X school. I feel TFA treats teaching as a safari into the urban jungle.

Sure, I'm bitter. It's annoying to have to check NO when they ask if you participated in TFA when you actually did the same job and stayed beyond the requisite 2 years.

tecumseh
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby tecumseh » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:35 am

As someone who was accepted into TFA last year but (reluctantly) declined to join, I think part of the TFA mystique if you will, is their ability to market themselves as part of this uber-selective corps of do-gooders who can make a difference. For example, their literature talks about how nearly 10% of students coming out of elite schools like Yale and Princeton each year do Teach for America (which is a really impressive number for these graduates who I imagine have other good options). This creates the idea that TFA is an elite organization as well...What the don't mention is that the vast majority of their corp members come from state schools and other not-well known colleges across the country. Their acceptance rate is so selective (~10%) because they for a lot students graduating from the lower-tier schools, TFA is a good option (I read somewhere that for a school like Northwestern, the acceptance rate jumps to over 30%)...

TFA is a great organization IMHO with noble intentions. But let's not make their corp members into supermen. They are elite in the sense that TFA saw that they have right qualities and personality to succeed in these most down-trodden schools of our nation and they proved their determination by being able to last the full 2 years. However, as a soft, TFA is not exactly a game changer. It is definitely looks better on the resume than college-only activities but remember that TFA is a post-college real world experience so of course if should be! Compared to some of the other good jobs.experience that one can get out of college (Masters of Science, professional job etc...), I wouldn't imagine a TFA experience to be much more superior in terms of LS admissions.

Furthermore, keep in mind that TFA admissions really do look at beyond the numbers so the people in TFA generally probably are already self-selected to have superior softs compared to others.

Overall, I doubt TFA in by itself as much as an effect on admissions which is a good thing because the last thing underprivileged schools needs in this country is more teachers lacking in dedication.

bizzlemywizzle
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby bizzlemywizzle » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:06 am

I'm not sure if someone posted this already, but I've always thought this article was hilarious, especially since it is a true story. (Yale grad gets sued for $20 million while in TFA.)

"How I Joined TFA- And Got Sued for $20 Million" by Joshua Kaplowitz

http://www.city-journal.org/html/13_1_how_i_joined.html

I was recruited to do a "pre-interview" interview for TFA during undergrad (I think they pre-interview-interviewed pretty much any nob with over a 3.6 GPA at my undergrad). At the "pre-interview" interview, I realized that I do not have the skills necessary for a job like this and I think the interviewer saw right through it. I can't teach, dislike kids, and do not have a passion for public service. In fact, when he asked me "why I was considering TFA" I responded "I do not know what I am doing after I graduate." I ended up not even applying despite the nice Christmas cards they mail you and constant emails. I also probably did not have a legit chance in getting the job, but it's nice that TFA pretends to love you.

Side note: When I told my mother I was considering applying to TFA for the hell of it, she said "no way, think of the potential lawsuits (read article) and trouble-making kids." She thought the kids would rip me to shreds, and to be honest, they probably would.

pcsean28
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby pcsean28 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:39 am

My perspective: I went through their application process, and it's probably the most difficult I will ever have to face, some people mentioned this as a sort of pre-screening for law school adcomms, I think this is totally valid, I felt like I was taking a graduate course on applying to Teach for America

I got accepted and went through the training program. Easily the most challenging experience of my life. I could go into detail, but that would be boring and depressing.

Then, I got placed in my region in a cake job. I was basically being paid to sit in on a couple high school classes and organize a few meetings (I was a special ed "co-teacher" with a caseload of 5 students, that's only 5 IEPs all done before November). The job had zero challenge and I was unhappy living in my region (people would laugh if they found out where I was... PM me if you're curious). Anyway I quit after a few months.

I don't even mention it in my resume.

I guess the reason it is a "good soft" is 1) because of the prestige of the program/selective application process, it's an important brand name fair or not, I'd side slightly with fair. 2) This brings up the comparison with other teachers in difficult settings, the TFA program constantly evaluates the corps members... 25% of TFA work is in following the higher standards put forth by TFA in addition to district standards, and keeping exhaustive track of data. Regardless of whether they are successful or not, TFA corps members are held to MUCH higher standards than any of their fellow teachers. TFA corps members would not be considered successful by their program directors (who would be the ones writing letters of rec, etc.) if they just did whatever the other teachers did at their schools... the idea is to improve things.

I think there are certainly comparable "soft" experiences, but adComms see TFA and they know exactly what that entails, whereas someone who did something similar on their own would have a tougher sell.

pcsean28
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby pcsean28 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:51 am

upsnyf wrote:Hmmm, wow. My son's master's degree was completely paid for through TFA. As far as I know the program is a requirement and paid for. Can anyone else chime in on this?


While TFA offers "transitional loans" for moving costs, and maybe to cover some initial educational expenses, TFA corps members are solely responsible for funding their credential program (in many cases an MA). At a certain point TFA becomes more of a recruiting/job placement agency, once a corps member gets hired by the school it's up to them to become qualified for the job.

As a side note, another misconception is that TFA teachers are less qualified when they begin teaching than other teachers at the school... TFA corps members are held to the same qualifications any other teachers are. TFA corps members receive what's known in most cases as an emergency credential with the promise of becoming fully credentialed after two years, this is something anyone with a bachelors degree can do. The TFA training institute is used as extra training designed by TFA to give teachers the tools to close the achievement gap, it carries no additional credential.

pcsean28
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby pcsean28 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:52 am

jrs12 wrote:TFA is not a volunteer activity. Corp members get paid a full salary, plus a free masters degree. Starting salaries for teachers are pretty good, though the long term earning potential is not fantastic. Also, since its inception, TFA has been marketed as a way for top students to develop valuable work experience.

Most corp members I know (and I don't have enough digits to count them, including some who have stayed on in an admin capacity) went into TFA because they didn't know what they wanted to do. Instead of waiting tables, they got another degree, great work experience, and a nice salary.

Things to keep in mind (relevant to both sides of the debate):
- As a whole, there is no evidence to suggest that TFA corp members are more effective than other teachers.
- TFA members have significantly higher SAT scores than the average education student.
- Many corp members are future leaders of this country, and they will have a better understanding and more sympathy for the problems that face America's lowest performing schools.
- Some corp members will stay on, eventually developing into master teachers after a decade or so.
- It takes passion and energy to make a difference in poor schools. After two years, many teachers have spent all that they had.
- Many students view corp members with skepticism, because they know that they will be gone in a year or two. It is not necessarily beneficial to a student to develop a close relationship and then leave before he/she has graduated.

I have nothing but respect for the difficulty of teaching in under-performing schools. I have worked with kids from some of America's worst neighborhoods, and it is emotionally exhausting. Nevertheless, I am skeptical of the overall effect of the corp. It has always seemed to me like a program that benefits its participants far more than the students. (Clearly, not to suggest that there is no benefit to the students).


Masters degree not free.

pcsean28
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby pcsean28 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:57 am

upsnyf wrote:My son never planned on doing TFA. He planned on going to law school, and will. He will have more influence and success in changing the inner city school situation as a politician vs. a teacher. It is a good thing. Why complain about that?


This is a good point. An important part of the TFA mission (as it was originally designed) is not only closing the gap during the 2 year commitment, but to organize TFA alumni as a future force in the movement. TFA counts on its alumni moving on to bigger and better things... placing themselves in more powerful positions with the strong memories of their corps experiences driving them to move for change in their new position of power.

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20160810
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby 20160810 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:33 am

TFA does not pay for the education that is usually required once you join the Corps. Instead, each Corps Member gets an annual Americops Education Stipend, usually about $4700 iirc which can be used for student loans, current educational expenses, or future educational expenses.

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wiscgrl03
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby wiscgrl03 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:07 am

pcsean28 wrote:
jrs12 wrote:TFA is not a volunteer activity. Corp members get paid a full salary, plus a free masters degree. Starting salaries for teachers are pretty good, though the long term earning potential is not fantastic. Also, since its inception, TFA has been marketed as a way for top students to develop valuable work experience.

Most corp members I know (and I don't have enough digits to count them, including some who have stayed on in an admin capacity) went into TFA because they didn't know what they wanted to do. Instead of waiting tables, they got another degree, great work experience, and a nice salary.

Things to keep in mind (relevant to both sides of the debate):
- As a whole, there is no evidence to suggest that TFA corp members are more effective than other teachers.
- TFA members have significantly higher SAT scores than the average education student.
- Many corp members are future leaders of this country, and they will have a better understanding and more sympathy for the problems that face America's lowest performing schools.
- Some corp members will stay on, eventually developing into master teachers after a decade or so.
- It takes passion and energy to make a difference in poor schools. After two years, many teachers have spent all that they had.
- Many students view corp members with skepticism, because they know that they will be gone in a year or two. It is not necessarily beneficial to a student to develop a close relationship and then leave before he/she has graduated.

I have nothing but respect for the difficulty of teaching in under-performing schools. I have worked with kids from some of America's worst neighborhoods, and it is emotionally exhausting. Nevertheless, I am skeptical of the overall effect of the corp. It has always seemed to me like a program that benefits its participants far more than the students. (Clearly, not to suggest that there is no benefit to the students).


Masters degree not free.


This is correct. TFA does not pay anything towards your masters degree, and if you get a discount is totally dependent upon the relationship TFA has with a university in your region. In my region most new teachers in our school are lateral entry, meaning they do not hold a teaching degree they are very similiar to TFA teachers only they don't have any training. Our school district reimburses you for some of your classes.
Also it is a misconception that you will receive your masters degree. There has been only one person in our region who has earned a Masters in the past 4 years because the teaching requirement here at least is a 3-4 year program. Most teachers quit taking classes after their initial certification or basically once they hold a real teaching certificate.
Lastly the money that most people talk about being for loans is granted through americorps and you have to attend a bunch of meetings/trainings/workshops in order to be eligible. There are a lot of TFA corps members who will never be able to use that money because they have no student loans from undergrad and have no intention of going back to school.

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radical4peace
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby radical4peace » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:38 am

upsnyf wrote:TFA teachers do not need to let the administration or their students know that they are part of the TFA program. My son's principal and his students don't know. It is up to the teacher to disclose that.


The principal knows. When TFA partners with schools, part of the agreement is that partner schools pay a portion of the training cost for TFA corps members. Many schools are more than happy to do this because they believe that TFA teachers are better than most entering first-year teachers (and there is both subjective and objective data to back this up) and/or are in desperate need of warm bodies to fill classrooms. The principal knows, and if your son is one of several other corps members at his placement school, it is likely that most everyone else knows as well.

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fanfavourite
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby fanfavourite » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:43 am

jrs12 wrote:TFA is not a volunteer activity. Corp members get paid a full salary, plus a free masters degree. Starting salaries for teachers are pretty good, though the long term earning potential is not fantastic. Also, since its inception, TFA has been marketed as a way for top students to develop valuable work experience.

Most corp members I know (and I don't have enough digits to count them, including some who have stayed on in an admin capacity) went into TFA because they didn't know what they wanted to do. Instead of waiting tables, they got another degree, great work experience, and a nice salary.

Things to keep in mind (relevant to both sides of the debate):
- As a whole, there is no evidence to suggest that TFA corp members are more effective than other teachers.
- TFA members have significantly higher SAT scores than the average education student.
- Many corp members are future leaders of this country, and they will have a better understanding and more sympathy for the problems that face America's lowest performing schools.
- Some corp members will stay on, eventually developing into master teachers after a decade or so.
- It takes passion and energy to make a difference in poor schools. After two years, many teachers have spent all that they had.
- Many students view corp members with skepticism, because they know that they will be gone in a year or two. It is not necessarily beneficial to a student to develop a close relationship and then leave before he/she has graduated.

I have nothing but respect for the difficulty of teaching in under-performing schools. I have worked with kids from some of America's worst neighborhoods, and it is emotionally exhausting. Nevertheless, I am skeptical of the overall effect of the corp. It has always seemed to me like a program that benefits its participants far more than the students. (Clearly, not to suggest that there is no benefit to the students).


incorrect.
http://www.urban.org/publications/901157.html

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radical4peace
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby radical4peace » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:54 am

tecumseh wrote:As someone who was accepted into TFA last year but (reluctantly) declined to join, I think part of the TFA mystique if you will, is their ability to market themselves as part of this uber-selective corps of do-gooders who can make a difference. For example, their literature talks about how nearly 10% of students coming out of elite schools like Yale and Princeton each year do Teach for America (which is a really impressive number for these graduates who I imagine have other good options). This creates the idea that TFA is an elite organization as well...What the don't mention is that the vast majority of their corp members come from state schools and other not-well known colleges across the country. Their acceptance rate is so selective (~10%) because they for a lot students graduating from the lower-tier schools, TFA is a good option[b][/b] (I read somewhere that for a school like Northwestern, the acceptance rate jumps to over 30%)...

TFA is a great organization IMHO with noble intentions. But let's not make their corp members into supermen. They are elite in the sense that TFA saw that they have right qualities and personality to succeed in these most down-trodden schools of our nation and they proved their determination by being able to last the full 2 years. However, as a soft, TFA is not exactly a game changer. It is definitely looks better on the resume than college-only activities but remember that TFA is a post-college real world experience so of course if should be! Compared to some of the other good jobs.experience that one can get out of college (Masters of Science, professional job etc...), I wouldn't imagine a TFA experience to be much more superior in terms of LS admissions.

Furthermore, keep in mind that TFA admissions really do look at beyond the numbers so the people in TFA generally probably are already self-selected to have superior softs compared to others.

Overall, I doubt TFA in by itself as much as an effect on admissions which is a good thing because the last thing underprivileged schools needs in this country is more teachers lacking in dedication.


While I agree with some of what you said in this post, I think you need some facts to back up your assertion that "the vast majority come from state and lower tier schools." First, I don't think this is true. Second, you are suggesting that people outside the Ivy League can't possibly compete. While I believe most corps members come from top schools (my own corps had several Yale and Harvard grads, Northwestern, etc.), TFA does an excellent job recruiting top graduates from outside top 10 schools as well. This increases the diversity of the corps and also ensures that candidates aren't left out just because they went to public schools or HBCUs.

I agree that TFA folks are not supermen/women and there are other "softs" that deserve just as much or more recognition. But I think many people on this board have pointed out the unique challenges of TFA and made a good case for it. As far as other teachers/NYC teaching fellows go, I think that everyone who works in low-income schools and makes academic gains deserves the same recognition as TFA corps members.

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dresq
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby dresq » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:23 pm

pcsean28 wrote:I think there are certainly comparable "soft" experiences, but adComms see TFA and they know exactly what that entails, whereas someone who did something similar on their own would have a tougher sell.

This is probably one of the more relevant and insightful responses to the OP's initial question. I think if this had been posted a couple of days ago, it could have kept this thread from getting so badly derailed.

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Drew2010
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby Drew2010 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:37 pm

wiscgrl03 wrote:"
what else would you put ranking higher than TFA in softs. For what its worth I had a friend who just completed the PC, and even she will admit that TFA is more difficult.


There were a few responses to the initial question that were basically, "Well TFA is really really hard!" Personally, I can't think of anything that I would say is a better soft, mostly because I would have a hard time ranking softs in general. I think softs are "soft" for a reason, how in the world could you really objectively measure between them? I do think it’s pretty silly though that people responded with "its really hard," because I think there are plenty of things that are equally, if not more, difficult.

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fluffy
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby fluffy » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:07 pm

radical4peace wrote:
upsnyf wrote:TFA teachers do not need to let the administration or their students know that they are part of the TFA program. My son's principal and his students don't know. It is up to the teacher to disclose that.


The principal knows. When TFA partners with schools, part of the agreement is that partner schools pay a portion of the training cost for TFA corps members. Many schools are more than happy to do this because they believe that TFA teachers are better than most entering first-year teachers (and there is both subjective and objective data to back this up) and/or are in desperate need of warm bodies to fill classrooms. The principal knows, and if your son is one of several other corps members at his placement school, it is likely that most everyone else knows as well.


This I find very odd. Having been a teacher in a high-needs school and having worked on its hiring committee, we would never have had extra funds to hire someone from TFA, nor would we have wanted a teacher who will likely work for only two years. Perhaps New York is lucky to have other alt. certification programs, since they are essentially the same and also highly selective, but have the goal of placing energetic people in the classroom long-term.

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wiscgrl03
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby wiscgrl03 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:17 pm

fluffy wrote:
radical4peace wrote:
upsnyf wrote:TFA teachers do not need to let the administration or their students know that they are part of the TFA program. My son's principal and his students don't know. It is up to the teacher to disclose that.


The principal knows. When TFA partners with schools, part of the agreement is that partner schools pay a portion of the training cost for TFA corps members. Many schools are more than happy to do this because they believe that TFA teachers are better than most entering first-year teachers (and there is both subjective and objective data to back this up) and/or are in desperate need of warm bodies to fill classrooms. The principal knows, and if your son is one of several other corps members at his placement school, it is likely that most everyone else knows as well.


This I find very odd. Having been a teacher in a high-needs school and having worked on its hiring committee, we would never have had extra funds to hire someone from TFA, nor would we have wanted a teacher who will likely work for only two years. Perhaps New York is lucky to have other alt. certification programs, since they are essentially the same and also highly selective, but have the goal of placing energetic people in the classroom long-term.


I am confused how you would not have the funds to hire someone from TFA? They are paid the same salary. The school I teach in had to hire over 40 new teachers last year becauase the turnover rate is so high. Many classes now currently have permanent substitutes in them. I won't even address TFA's long-term mission and commitment to education despite not staying in the classroom for long periods of time.
With that said our superintendant loves loves loves TFA and tells anyone looking to contribute money to donate it to TFA, and not our school district. This pretty much doubled our corps members this year. He also requires TFA teachers in certain schools like mine.

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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby radical4peace » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:28 pm

fluffy wrote:
radical4peace wrote:
upsnyf wrote:TFA teachers do not need to let the administration or their students know that they are part of the TFA program. My son's principal and his students don't know. It is up to the teacher to disclose that.


The principal knows. When TFA partners with schools, part of the agreement is that partner schools pay a portion of the training cost for TFA corps members. Many schools are more than happy to do this because they believe that TFA teachers are better than most entering first-year teachers (and there is both subjective and objective data to back this up) and/or are in desperate need of warm bodies to fill classrooms. The principal knows, and if your son is one of several other corps members at his placement school, it is likely that most everyone else knows as well.


This I find very odd. Having been a teacher in a high-needs school and having worked on its hiring committee, we would never have had extra funds to hire someone from TFA, nor would we have wanted a teacher who will likely work for only two years. Perhaps New York is lucky to have other alt. certification programs, since they are essentially the same and also highly selective, but have the goal of placing energetic people in the classroom long-term.


I realize this is probably no longer relevant to the OP's question, but the extra funds required to take on TFA corps members is fairly minimal. Many high-needs schools already devote a certain amount of time and money to find qualified teachers to fill open spots. I think that NYC is a special case in that it has its own alternative certification program, and I think that's great. Many other school districts are too small to do this on their own. Placing energetic, qualified teachers into high-needs schools is obviously part of a long-term solution to closing the achievement gap. But not all districts are there yet. Camden, NJ at least was not there yet.




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