Just read a very interesting article about a new educational grad school called Relay School of Education that was started by many founders of the most successful charter schools (KIPP, Uncommon). It offers a two year masters degree program meant to help teachers succeed in their classrooms that very year. Interestingly, success in the program (and even honors) is tied to their tracking data in math and reading growth (at least for elementary teachers), and lessons are meant to be useful the next day in the classroom, and center around the practical techniques I would imagine most TFA corps members wish from their certification programs (Teach Like a Champion, Aligning assessments to common core standards, building investment, etc.). While the article was published in EducationNext–a magazine that will never miss an opportunity to glorify charter school leaders–I am excited by the idea that we may be close to formulating a certification program that is actually aligned to most of what we learn at institute (I’m a sucker for the TAL Rubric and TAL Impact Model) and backed not by 1970′s articles in education journals but by what is working in low-income charter schools right now. I believe there is great potential for such a program: imagine if TFA paired with this university instead of most of the other certification programs: I think the benefits could be enormous. I also think such a program could provide alternate routes besides TFA to quickly enter education. Anyways, there are a lot of debates within TfA between career teachers v 2-5 year teachers, a month of training v a year of training, the cost benefit analysis of injecting new teachers quickly v building up educational grad programs. While this could be a way of reconciling these competing visions for American education, I eagerly await those with a more critical eye to help me see some of the flaws in this model.
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Pontifications of the Unplaced