"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Lisa Delpit on Teach for America

From Ed Week.  Really, that Ed Week:

Our next Teacher Book Club, featuring Lisa Delpit's "Multiplication Is for White People": Raising Expectations for Other People's Children, is just three weeks away. Get familiar with the issues Delpit raises.
MultiplicationIn discussing systemic problems in disadvantaged schools, Delpit comes down hard on alternative-certification programs such as Teach for America that recruit bright, young leaders for two-year stints teaching in low-income schools. In a Q&A on Education Week’s BookMarks blog, Delpit delves more deeply into her criticisms of TFA and other recent reform efforts. Here's an excerpt from that conversation:Bookmarks blogger, Catherine Cardno: In your opinion, where does the TFA failure lie and is there a way the program can be adjusted so that it better meets the needs of students at inner-city schools?
Delpit: I strongly believe that it is important to have a diverse teaching population. However, I do not believe that the most vulnerable, the most school-dependent of our students should be taught by a revolving door of young teachers who have no commitments to or understanding of the local communities, who have limited teacher training, and who plan to leave teaching before they have had the chance to become good at it. It is no wonder that well-to-do schools refuse to have TFA teachers in their schools. As to how the TFA program could improve, I believe that we should increase the commitment time to teaching, and have TFA teachers practice under the mentorship of experienced, competent teachers with long-term experience in urban schools. I would also like to see such mentors play a much larger part in the training of the TFA teachers.

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