You know I wouldn’t have to write these posts if people just did their darn jobs! However, since EdWeek seems to think journalism is simply reporting, “someone has to say it!”
Is it news that Wendy Kopp is stepping down from TFA as CEO? Yes. Should it be reported? Yes. Should that announcement be followed up with slippery facts about the relative impact TFA has had on the profession of teaching. NO! From EdWeek,
Kopp, 45, founded TFA in 1990. From an initial cohort of 50, the organization now sends a highly select group of more than 10,000 college graduates and other adults annually into low-performing schools for two years. About a third of TFA members remain in the classroom after their commitment ends; an additional third stay in the education field in some form. (bold emphasis added by me because)
According to TFAer Emma Lind, and supported by research it seems that TFA might not really be in the practice of placing graduates “into low-performing schools.”
Although an initial skim of data released by the U.S. Department of Education reveals a large number of regions suffering from teacher shortages, a closer look reveals that TFA placements are “largely outside” of those highest-need areas.
Also, how about expanding on that last statement with some sources to verify this very abstract claim concerning what TFAers do? If a third remain in the classroom after their “commitment” how long do they actually stay?
And what about that third that stay in the “education field?” Just saying “in some form” is lazy at best. Why not let readers know about the other “educational fields” TFAers occupy and whether they possess the qualifications to hold such positions?
Molly Horstman, a 27-year-old with two years of TFA teaching in New Orleans to take charge of teacher evaluations for the state of Louisiana. Horstman graduated from college in 2007 and now she will be in charge of deciding how to evaluate teachers who have been in the classroom as long as she has been alive. The fact that she has no experience evaluating teachers is irrelevant.
As I said above, I have no problem reporting that Wendy is leaving her post. But it is unacceptable when that announcement is followed with shoddy details that misleads readers. It took me a matter of ten minutes to provide evidence that calls into question every “fact” printed in the “announcement” paragraph about TFA. Again, go ahead and “report.” But please don’t make unsubstantiated claims that distort reality—it’s disturbing!
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