Sunday, May 11, 2014

Teach For America and the U of MN

Now this was a fairly interesting Q and A.  It seems there is a chance of alternative licensing coming a school near you.  MinnPost Prepping Teacher for Challenging Classroom  There were only 2 comments entered, I am hoping we can generate more.
"Color me Skeptical:  Several bits of Ms. Dillon's enthusiastic response beg for further explanation, but I'll just pick 3 that got my attention right away.

The whole notion of "alternative pathways" is interesting. I can easily think of circumstances when it might well be a more effective approach, but it also strikes me as an approach that could just as easily be LESS effective than the model usually followed, and more importantly, it's interesting to me that the approach is aimed at only classroom teachers. I look forward to the U's involvement, for example, in "alternative pathways" to school administrative certificates, and while we're at it – especially given the stated presumption of ineffectiveness of the current model – there seems sufficient grounds to develop "alternative pathways" to doctoral degrees in education, as well as tenured positions at state universities in the field of education.

A 60% retention rate beyond the 2-year TFA commitment is… um… nothing to write home about.

“they work side-by-side with an experienced classroom teacher who is very effective and provides strong mentoring that we mutually value. The K-12 students they work with recognize them both equally as teachers. They plan together."


Students recognize a college sophomore (or perhaps it's a college freshman – it's not entirely clear in the interview) who doesn't know a whole lot more than a 12th grade high school student as a legitimate teacher? Equal to the experienced and effective career teacher with whom they've been partnered? This suggests to me that high school students in Minnesota are quite a bit less discerning than the high school students with whom I worked in another state – who would never have considered a college freshman or sophomore the "equal" of the "real" teacher in the room unless the former were extraordinarily mature and well-prepared, and the latter was the personification of ineptitude.

Even then, they'd be skeptical. So am I." Ray

"TFA Prerequisites:  Apparently all of these candidates are already college graduates with at least a 2.5 GPA. So hopefully all of them are more knowledgeable than most HS Seniors.  TFA Prerequisites

I have friends who got teaching degrees and much of their curriculum was typical of other liberal arts college degrees. Not sure why you are skeptical." G2A

Teach For America Twin Cities
UMN and TFA agree to develop
Star Tribune: ED MN Why They are Against TFA  (ironically Mr Dooher stated "According a review of the national research on TFA by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, “studies indicate that the students of novice TFA teachers perform significantly less well in reading and mathematics than those of credentialed beginning teachers.”"  Which makes little or no sense since ED MN keeps saying that teaching results can not be accurately measured or used for Teacher Evaluations...  Go figure...)
Star Tribune: ED MN Blocks TFA  (I knew there was a reason I voted for the Democrat... "“I believe that we are an outlier in our opposition to TFA,” state Sen. Terry Bonoff, DFL-Plymouth, who worked to bring TFA to the state.") 


Anonymous said...

The Teach for America kids are great, but TFA tends to push on the educational string a bit. What they offer isn't necessarily what our system is missing.


John said...

WP Diversity Gap Growing

Maybe they could...

John said...

This post has everything... And I only get 1 comment...

Two factions who supposedly care for the kids. Two factions that are striving to help those sweet little innocent children. Two factions, each who believe deeply that the other faction is failing the children.

It has Unions, Teachers and Teacher Prep systems who are striving to keep questionable alternative licensees from entering their peaceful controlled world. It has TFA striving to provide teachers and diversify the education system in many ways. Both saying that their efforts are best for the children.

However there is potentially a very strong conflict of interest with the first group. I mean what happens if a large number of older highly educated people choose to enter teaching via alternative licensing? What if these people don't believe in unions, steps, lanes, tenure, work rules, etc? Worse yet, what if they turn out to be effective Teachers?

Just think of the pressure on the teacher compensation policies... I mean private enterprise ideas may take hold... Like relating pay to performance, work load, responsibilities, etc. Instead of to degrees earned and years served.

To be fair, what insidious motives may the TFA folks have?

So maybe Education MN has good reasons for keeping older professionals out of the classroom.

Anonymous said...

I think TFA is a great program in that it gives America's future elite an up close view of the problems of America's schools. It's an opportunity not many of us get.


jerrye92002 said...

OK, I'll comment.

TFA is great. It's one more thing that Mark Dayton failed at, teaching us something about him that we should have known before electing him beyond his level of competency.

It is only a matter of time, IMHO, and way past overdue, for the whole public school dinosaur to become extinct. I keep saying that as soon as most folks discover that we can outsource the whole (3-12) teaching profession to India via distance learning, or to computer-aided instruction here, or to charter schools, all of which deliver vastly superior results at considerably less cost, they are doomed.

John said...

So far as I have seen, "Charters" have not delivered better results. At least not those with the same demographics as their competitive public school.

Of course the Charters with admittance criteria, Parental / Student responsibility contracts, active expulsion policies, etc do better. Pretty easy when you can dismiss any one who is not striving for success.

Sean said...

It should be pointed out that the reason we have the "Alternative Pathway to Teaching Program" is because Mark Dayton signed the bill that made it possible -- a bill that Education Minnesota opposed.

John said...

I think his record is mixed at best. It looks like his enthusement waned once the GOP lost control.
MPR: Dayton and GOP Compromise

MinnPost: Dayton Vetoes Funding

Sean said...

Not supporting doubling of state funding for TFA doesn't mean that Dayton is opposed to alternative licensure. TFA is not the only path to accomplish that.

John said...

MMB Pie Chart

Apparently the state alone spends...
$15,849 million on K-12
$ 2,814 million on Higher Ed

And he vetoed a
$ 1 million
expense that would diversify the Teacher population and provide new Teachers with different perspectives.

There was definitely more to it.

John said...

I liked this quote from the veto source above.

"Five of the board’s 11 gubernatorial appointees hold leadership positions in Education Minnesota, its locals or affiliates or the AFL-CIO. Two others represent traditional teacher preparation programs; the Minnesota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education also lobbied for a veto.

All of former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s appointees have left the board at this point. The five who voted to extend the agreement are the newest.

The board isn’t the only actor within Minnesota’s mainstream education establishment that’s ambivalent about some of the policy changes advocates hope will boost impoverished schools. It is, however, unclear what happens when such a body seems reluctant to implement policies enacted by elected officials."

John said...

Somewhat related...

K-12 trying to maintain their funding / monopoly...
MinnPost PSEO Gag Rule

Laurie said...

my kids have taken both AP classes and PSEO (the local community college is .5 miles from the high school and our house.) The high school counselors tell students that college admissions looks more favorably on AP classes on transscript and few students take advantage OF PSEO. My kids say community college classes are easier than AP classes and they don't have to stress on passing the AP test (which they always do except for AP calc.)

Anyway, I think PSEO is a good deal and students and parents should be given all relevant info.

I don't blame the schools for trying to hang on to their students.If more kids take PSEO they may have to cut back on AP classes, for instance, and that does hurt the high school course selection for the kids who don't do PSEO.