National Review Myth Buster #3: Independent from TFA

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Our National Review of Teacher Prep is well under way.  We've been working hard to coordinate with colleges, universities and other state-based stakeholders to advance the review.  In spite of this outreach, myths and misrepresentations about our standards, methodology and motivations persist. In this series of PDQ posts, we are setting the record straight.  Earlier this week, we addressed how institutions would not be penalized in our review for complying with faulty state laws or regs.  Yesterday we addressed the financial support for the Review.  Today's post tackles claims that Teach For America is indirectly funding the Review to accumulate evidence needed to end formal teacher preparation as we know it.

Some critics of the review have suggested that the review is being funded— directly or indirectly— by Teach For America, but as we showed in yesterday's post, there is no evidence to support the assertion.  So why do some people still think that we are in the pocket of TFA?  It is absolutely true that NCTQ has been a vocal and strong supporter of TFA because it recruits smart, talented young people into the profession, many of whom go on to making tremendous contributions to the broader cause of education reform. In fact, we have a number of TFA alum on our staff. 

Here's where we stand on Teach For America.  Within the current context of so much mediocre preparation of teachers in the United States, we believe that inviting Teach For America into school districts is a very smart move.  But note our conditional support.   

In fact, we strongly believe in traditional teacher preparation. If it were delivered well systematically, no school district would want to rely on untrained novice teachers, no matter how smart or talented they were.  To achieve that transformation, traditional teacher preparation needs to take a page from TFA's playbook, becoming more selective about who can become a teacher.  While it would be impractical to be as selective as TFA given the nation's need to hire 240,000 new teachers each year, the bar must be raised.  Currently it is easier to become a teacher in most states than it is to academically qualify to play college football.

Bottom line:  The source of our support is both transparent and diverse. We have a vision for teacher preparation that would ultimately make Teach For America and all fast track alternate routes obsolete. We imagine that is not a goal shared by Teach For America.