Friday, June 23, 2006

Getting New Teachers into Public Schools: Teach for America Model

A recent Chicago Tribune editorial praises the recruiting efforts of the Teach for America (TFA)organization. This group recruits graduating college students to commit to two years of teaching in public scools in 22 regions throughout the country. With 3500 current teachers in 1000 different schools, TFA has produced 14,000 teachers altogether since 1990. Last year alone there were 19,000 applications to TFA, which is impressive considering the salary falls into a $23,000 - $43-000 range, often well below the starting salary these students could make outside of education. Often the teachers coming through the TFA program will put in their two years and then move on to other careers, but some two-thirds will remain in teaching beyond that required period. TFA is looking to expand into more states and regions of the country and continue to increase the number of teachers it provides to our schools, as we see shortages of qualified teachers in many areas of the country, as well as continued high attrition rates where about half of all new teachers will leave the profession within their first 3-4 years.

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