About a week ago I was contacted by someone from the NPR show ‘Tell Me More.’ They wanted to interview me about a blog post I wrote back in October called ‘Why I Did TFA and Why You Shouldn’t‘.
Originally it was going to be a debate between either me and Wendy Kopp or me and Heather Harding, director of research. Because TFA wasn’t able to get someone to a studio at the same time as me (or so they said!), the program was recorded in two parts. Last Wednesday I recorded my part in a studio in New York (the host was in D.C.) and then TFA got to listen to what I said and respond to it on Friday.
I’m not sure when this will ‘air,’ or if I really got as tongue tied as I think I did, but it might be on soon and maybe some listeners will seek out my blog so I thought I’d put some links to some of my better posts if people want to read up.
I mentioned in my interview that some TFA trainees only get to student teach with under ten students. I know this from comments from actual trainees from over the summer in a post I wrote called ‘Why do some TFA trainees have only 4 students in their student teaching classes?’
I address the issue that I believe TFA exaggerates the success of their first year teachers. I got a lot of first hand comments about this in a post I wrote called ‘Why does TFA value quantity over quality?’
I spoke about how, on a larger level, TFA exaggerates the success of their alumni who have gone on to lead charter networks, city education departments, and even state education departments. Here’s a post about attrition at KIPP charter schools, and another about the supposed ‘miracle’ in New Orleans.
Something that came up which may or may not have made it onto the show is the idea that our schools are actually not failing, but doing about as well as they can with the resources they have and with the problems that burden kids in poverty. I’ve addressed this a few times, first in this post called Is Poverty Destiny?
If you’re visiting my blog for the first time since you heard me on NPR, feel free to click around and leave a comment.
P.S. If you really like what I have to say, you can check out my books — available at amazon.com! (Hey, it’s worth a shot. You’d do it too.)