Eduwonk summarizes a Mathematica study of the effectiveness of Teach for America teachers, who are very bright college graduates who promise to teach for two years in high-need schools. Compared to their colleagues, including those who are certified and experienced, TFA teachers are just as good at teaching reading and better at math.
Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, observes:
The fairest “apple to apple” comparison found that new TFA teachers stacked up quite well to other new teachers in the building, so much so that the impact was about the same as if the school had reduced the class size from 23 to 15 students but a whole lot less expensive.
Less than three percent of TFA teachers in the study majored in education compared to 52 percent of non-TFA teachers.