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Obama Education Adviser Responds

Obama08_badge2tlEXCLUSIVE:  Here's what Linda Darling-Hammond has to say about TFA, teacher preparation, and her role in the Obama campaign:

"TFA has done a great job recruiting committed young people into education for 2 year stints. I've continued to urge the organization to build more and more systematic preparation and supports into their model for these young people so that they can be increasing effective at what they do, and to encourage them to stay longer so that districts get the benefit of the skills they eventually acquire. I'm not sure that encouragement has always been appreciated :) "

As you'll see reading the rest of the email below, LDH also describes the Teacher Residency model that Senator Obama has proposed expanding to other cities, and clarifies that she is just one of many who provide ideas and advice to the candidate.

The rest of the email:

We also need to be working on agendas that build a long-term teaching force of committed and skilled educators in cities that equalize educational opportunity over the long haul. This agenda is at least equally important, I think, and the one I continue to try to work on.

I happen to like the Teacher Residency model that Obama has proposed as one of many ways to do this. This is not my brain child -- it was invented by the Academy for Urban School Leadership in Chicago, which has done a great job of recruiting talented mid-career individuals into teaching, paying them to teach in the classrooms of expert veteran urban teachers in schools.

AUSL has created that exemplify good practice for urban students, mentoring them for 2 years thereafter, and getting them to pledge 4 years of service in the Chicago schools, after which time most of them are skilled urban teachers committed to a long-term career in the profession.  Boston and Denver have similar models.  Federal proposals in the House and Senate would help to get these off the ground in more cities. 

I am just one of many people who advise Senator Obama on education policy, so there are many people who can take credit for his program ideas -- including, most importantly, the Senator himself, who is very thoughtful about these issues and has an enormous commitment to improving teaching, especially for the kids who have been most under-served.

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Politics can really make change, huh? LDH saying anything positive about TFA would only happen on the campaign trail ;)

Alexander,

I wish you and the others who report on the "horserace" aspect of education would be more careful in the use of the word "reform." How did that word become synonomous with continuing to support the hardest of the NCLB accountability regimes?

Just because Obama - or anyone - does not support high stakes standardized testing as the prime mover of change does not make him - or us- anti-reform.

I can't believe that I get back on the blogs after a week without electricity and I use my brief time on a library computer to speak for editors! They say I used to be cool ... But seriously, the use of language to tarnish opponents is not just a Republican device. In a previous career I had to always use the term "anti-choice" and now I'm glad that my role as a teacher requires me to use the term pro-life to characterize my opponents. But I think that NCLB is a perfect example where we adopted the wrong Karl Roveian tactics.
This is the United States of America and this is the 21st century and we can't come up with a better key principle than high stakes testing and top down mandates! All we have to do is make the subtle change from HARD ACCOUNTABILITY as the "be all end all" of reform to accountability as being just on component of reform.

John Thompson

I admire LDM and I see a lot of good in TFA, but why stress the political campaign negativism? But my one hour of computer time is wasting and I want to jump to your hyperlinks.

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