Dallas ISD Trustees, Principals Express Their Deep and Profound Love for Teach for America
|Miguel Solis was one of the first TFA corps members in the DISD, at Marsh Middle School.|
Edwin Flores looked at those math and science numbers we showed you last week and reminded his colleagues: TFA corps members "outperform two-thirds of all our teachers in math and science." Bruce Parrott looked at that chart comparing TFA newcomers to their regular counterparts and acknowledged: "I'm impressed."
Nancy Bingham brought up the common complaint about TFA teachers -- that they're only committed to serving two years in the district -- and brushed it aside. "The chances of [student in elementary schools] having the same teacher two years in a row doesn't happen," she said. "Usually one year is all a child has. The longevity might be important for the stability of the faculty, but the impact on a child is of such high quality."
Eric Cowan agreed. And Mike Morath noted that when you drill down into the numbers, there's just an "eight percent spread between TFA teachers and regular teachers" when it comes to their departing the district.
DISD board president Lew Blackburn tried to find someone, anyone, to point out the negatives. "Anything you don't like?" he asked the room, finding not a single soul willing to raise a hand. "I wish we could get more," said Bingham, who received murmurs of agreement.
Several district principals with TFA cohorts attended the briefing, proselytizing on behalf of TFA: "They raise the bar." "They set the tone [when it came to] work ethic." "My veteran teachers welcome Teach for America. They wanted them to step in and become the department chairs." Kyle Richardson, in his first year at Woodrow, said that when he worked with TFA cohorts at Marsh Middle School, "it was a truly transformational experience."
And, when the board gets around to voting on the contract in a couple of weeks, that experience will continue for at least five more years.