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TFA Has Become Embedded in New Orleans Education [View All]

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MountainLaurel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-11 01:06 PM
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TFA Has Become Embedded in New Orleans Education
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Shock Doctrine, anyone?

They're everywhere: The superintendent of the state's Recovery School District. Two of his top deputies. The head of a local nonprofit that acts as gatekeeper for millions in federal dollars earmarked to start new charter schools. And when a new state school board is seated in January, the board member who will represent most of New Orleans.

At every corner of the city's education establishment, you'll find alumni of Teach for America, a group founded two decades ago to channel some of the country's most promising and ambitious college students into underserved urban classrooms.

As with so much else that defines the post-Katrina school system, the group's ubiquity in New Orleans sets the city apart, but also places it squarely at the center of national debate over the future of the teaching profession. With its profile in Louisiana growing, the same questions that have dogged the group since its founding are echoing loudly around the state.

Do its members ever stick around past their two-year teaching commitment? Are they really prepared for the grinding challenges of an inner-city classroom? And what makes TFA alumni, with only two or three years teaching experience and no formal degree in education, fit for the most important education jobs in the state?
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