The fact that state regulations often require Teach For America (TFA) corps members to obtain master's degrees has meant that the organization has often had to forge some fairly tense partnerships with local education schools across the nation. But none of these marriages of convenience is quite like the expanded partnership between TFA and Arizona State University (ASU). With an $18.85 million grant from entrepreneur T. Denny Sanford, ASU has announced that it will "infuse TFA tools and practices" into its traditional teacher preparation program. Yep -- you read that right.
Being fans of TFA, we believe that there is much to be learned from it--and also some things that TFA can learn from the best teacher preparation programs. However, the image is smirk-provoking: a bunch of education PhD's--who teach in a program that requires no fewer than 19 education courses--shadowing the TFA wunderkind over their five-week summer institute in order to pick up useful tips. In what is truly a tour de force in spin, the press release announcing the partnership would have us asking "what could be more natural"?