Teach For America: A Return to the Evidence (The Sequel)

Please read this assessment of Teach For America (TFA) and a paper which examines the quarter century old program.

Teach For America: A Return to the Evidence, a report authored by professors Julian Vasquez Heilig of the University of Texas and Su Jin Jez of California State University, Sacramento for the National Education Policy Center, challenges the simplistic but widespread belief that TFA is a clear-cut success story. In fact, Heilig and Jez find that the best evidence shows TFA participants as a group are not meaningfully or consistently improving educational outcomes for the children they have taught.

Teach For America recruits college graduates, typically from elite universities, to serve in short-term (two-year) positions teaching in low-income communities. According to Heilig and Jez, the program is a mixed bag, with some benefits and some harms. But, they conclude, it is hugely oversold and it risks being a distraction from alternative strategies for which research evidence provides much stronger support for improving teaching and educational outcomes, especially for children living in poverty.”

Cloaking Inequity

The sequel to the 2010 Teach For America: A Review of the Evidence was released by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) today. The new policy report is entitled Teach For America: A Return to the Evidence. I have included the citation, official NEPC press release, and the Executive Summary in this post.

Citation: Vasquez Heilig, J. & Jez, S.J. (2014). Teach For America: A Return to the Evidence. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved from http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/teach-for-america-return.

Press Release: A Return to the Evidence

Scholars conclude the program has some strengths, but smart policy should focus on reforms
that create stability and with stronger track records for improving student achievement

BOULDER, CO (January 7, 2014) — Teach For America (TFA) is almost a quarter-century old. Since its launch, the program has experienced phenomenal growth, both in the numbers of participants and in the financial support it has received…

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