With only a few weeks of training, Teach for America teachers are as effective with elementary students as traditionally trained, far more experienced teachers at the same high-poverty schools, concludes a new Mathematica study.
In pre-K through second grade, TFA teachers’ students gained an extra 1.3 months of reading, the study found.
The TFA teachers averaged 1.7 years of experience compared to 13.6 years for the other teachers studied. TFA recruits most of its corp members from selective universities.
Earlier research “suggests that TFA teachers have been more effective than their non-TFA counterparts in math and about the same in reading,” Mathematica noted.
Eighty-seven percent of TFA teachers — and 26 percent of conventionally trained teachers — don’t plan to make teaching a lifetime career, the study found. (Bloomberg calls that a “plan to fee teaching.”) However, 43 percent of TFA teachers who said they’ll leave the classroom plan education careers.