As numerous critics have pointed out (refer to Learning on Other People’s Kids: Becoming a Teach For America Teacher by Barbara Torre Veltri), TFA corps members are effectively still undergoing their training after they’ve started teaching. The Ninth Circuit Court has reaffirmed its ruling that trainee teachers, including TFA, are not intended as “highly qualified” under NCLB. Unfortunately, “Congress passed a measure in December 2010 temporarily qualifying the country’s approximately 100,000 teachers-in-training in alternate route programs as “highly qualified” through the 2012-13 school year. ” But, after June of 2013, alternate route trainees must once again be deemed not “highly qualified” (unless Congress takes further action).
Congress’s action to weaken teaching standards hurts low-income schools especially hard, as this is where trainee teachers are heavily concentrated. Congress needs to stop making excuses! Please hold your representatives and senators accountable and urge them to keep the high bar to the “highly qualified” designation after June 2013. High standards like this will help our public schools attract and retain excellent teachers and ensure all student get an excellent education.