Comment of the week: 'The problem with placing TFA recruits in high-need schools'

Reader comments in TC Daily Planet— and comments on the comments — are crucial for the community conversation the Planet exists to nourish. To encourage the practice a volunteer editor, retired journalist Anthony Morley, reviews all comments and will select one each week to republish on Saturday.

This Comment of the Week is by Jim Thomas, Minneapolis. He responded December 31 to Sheila Regan’s article, TFA training left teacher unprepared for troubled school’s behavior issues.

Jim Thomas

Let me see if I understand this situation. The Minneapolis Public Schools placed a teach for America (TFA) recruit into a high-needs school with inadequate training. By her own admission this TFA recruit felt she was not adequately trained to handle her classroom of 14 students. This is a perfect example of the problem with placing TFA recruits in high-need schools. It is also an example of the willingness of MPS leadership to experiment with schools that have many high-needs students. There are fully trained elementary education majors coming from our universities who should have been hired ahead of any TFA recruit. This is shameful!

POINT(114.177987 22.321702)
  • Chris Stewart says 50% of all teachers will be gone early in their career. Way more of the TFA recruits will be gone earlier.School districts choosing TFA recruit subject their students to more new teachers every year. The most recent data for Harvest Prep had 50% turnover of their teachers from the previous year. This fact means many more students are subjected to less experienced teachers in their first couple of years in teaching. Let's be clear many TFA recruits never plan on teaching a long time. I as a parent only want people brought into our schools if they are committed to teaching as a career. To do otherwise is experimenting with our children and it is wrong..Don't let me get started on the TFA's recruits lack of training - by Jim Thomas on Mon, 01/06/2014 - 6:40pm
  • Our students need teachers who have full training. Not 5 weeks of summer training. 2/3 of TFA'ers leave after 2 years. We need experienced lifelong educators in our schools. Not teachers who use it as a stepping stone for politics or business careers. As an MPS parent I want experienced teachers because I know teachers improve every year. As a teacher I also take offense to Mr. Stewert's comment about student learning. If the learning of my students was not my objective I wouldn't be teaching. I do not do it for the money. - by David Boucher on Mon, 01/06/2014 - 8:54pm
  • Again, Mr. Stewart changed the conversation from "are TFA teachers good for our students" to an "ideological, political battle." Mr. Stewart, are TFA teachers who cycle in every 2 years good for students? - by Gwen Spurgat on Tue, 01/07/2014 - 1:56am
  • How about hiring retired teachers back ? - by Joe Musich on Sat, 01/04/2014 - 9:01pm
  • Most any teacher on their first day of teaching will need experience to improve their work. Many, regardless of where they come from, will not make it. 50% of the "fully trained" teachers from universities will be gone early in their career. Plain and simple, this is an ideological, political battle for control between those that have a monopoly on teacher labor management and those that want market share in schools where student learning has not been an objective of careerists for years. - by Chris Stewart on Mon, 01/06/2014 - 1:47pm

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Anthony Morley's picture
Anthony Morley

Anthony Morley (anthonymorley at tcdailyplanet dot net) is a retired editor, reporter, teacher, principal and priest.