Cobb County Superintendent Michael Hinojosa averted a fight over Teach for America, withdrawing, at least for now, his proposal to hire 50 teachers from the program. Read more here.
The Cobb school board decides tonight whether to staff several chronically under achieving schools with newly minted Teach for America teachers. New Cobb school chief Michael Hinojosa wants to hire 50 TFA teachers. (The costs associated with the program itself would be borne by donations but Cobb would pay the actual salaries.)
The well-regarded alternative teacher training program — which attracts applicants by the thousands and can pick the very brightest and most capable college graduates — has both its fans and detractors, as the Cobb board debate reflects.
“They may be elite college grads,” Eagle said last week during a debate over Hinojosa’s proposal. “But knowing the content doesn’t mean you know how to teach.” Eagle said in a later interview that the timing of the proposal was bad for teacher morale, given budgetary pressure to cut teaching positions next year.
But David Morgan, who represents the part of the county where these teachers would wind up working, said the district has to try something new.
I have always been impressed with the TFA teachers I’ve met, and friends who are teachers usually speak warmly of their younger TFA colleagues. There are a lot of studies supporting TFA, but you can also find skeptics who challenge the research.
My own view is that we ought to applaud — and figure out how to replicate — a recruitment program that draws 50,000 applicants for 5,000 spots and that attracts college students with high GPAs and SAT/ACT scores. Complaints that these teachers leave the profession after a few years seem secondary since retention isn’t much better for teachers coming through traditional pathways.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog