21 December 2012

TfA & Marginal Analysis

Coyote Blog | Warren Meyer | Teach for America

But through a strange series of articles that seemed to have used the Sandy Hook massacre as an argument for teacher unionization and against charter schools (yeah, I don't get the connection either), I found out that teachers unions hate Teach for America. Which means that I will likely double my contribution next year.
Mrs. SB7 is a teacher, and when she was getting her certification it was accepted doctrine among the education students and faculty that TfA was not only bad but outright insulting. The fact that my wife had no problem with them was treated as heresy.

I can begin to see their point — some college kid who paradrops into a school with a couple weeks preparation is no substitute for an experienced, trained professional.

But the mistake they make is one made by so many on the Left: they weren't analyzing at the margin. The trade-off isn't "inexperienced college kid" vs. "experienced professional." It's "inexperienced college kid" vs. "whatever other warm body was going to get hired to fill up space in the front of the class/no teacher at all."

Of course if you buy into the NEA world view, where every teacher is (far-)above average (literally), this isn't a relevant distinction.

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