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Thompson: TFA Should Break From "Reformers" - But Will It?

Education1The contemporary school "reform" movement has always been divided among itself, but now is the time for the teachers who have supported the accountability hawks to make a decision.  The data-driven reform movement has always attracted dedicated young educators, whether they serve in Teach for America or charter schools, who have recoiled at the educational "status quo" and took direct action against the legacy of generational poverty.  The problem is that these teachers have been used in the "bait" part of a corporate "bait and switch." TFA and others have become the face of a teacher-bashing campaign by the Michelle Rhee/Mike Bloomberg axis of  "reform" which seeks to blow up the "status quo."  Destroy today's teaching profession, education schools, and governance, they assume, and something "transformative" will rise from the ashes.  Former TFA member Gary Rubenstein  explains in his blog that teachers on the ground understand the folly destroying schools in order to save them, and says it's time "for TFA to disassociate themselves with the corporate reform movement."  It would "take a lot of guts," Rubenstein writes, but "They would be smart, though, to do this as soon as possible.  The foundation of the corporate reform movement is already beginning to crumble.  TFA does not need to go down with that ship but, sadly, they probably will."-JT (@drjohnthompson)image via.

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John, you might look again at Kopp's (very weak) charm offensive, through the lens of this information from a March 15 press release:
" ... Kaplan K12 Learning Services and Teach For America are teaming up to provide teachers with instructional resources. Starting this month, all Teach For America teachers will have access to Kaplan K12’s Teach!® Strategies & Resources, an online toolkit with robust instructional and professional development assets ..."
http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2012/03/15/kaplan-k12-learning-services-supports-teach-america-helping-teachers-transition-common-co

It doesn't look like she plans to dissociate herself from the corporate reform gravy train just as it reaches the public money loading platform.

Notice also that her WSJ opinion piece doesn't oppose the VAM scores at all; she just wants to keep them secret so they can be used to decimate the teacher corps without refelcting on her own enterprise:
"So-called value-added rankings—which rank teachers according to the recorded growth in their students' test scores—are an important indicator of teacher effectiveness, but making them public is counterproductive to helping teachers improve..."
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203458604577263603261494594.html?mod=WSJ_article_comments

The people you're really arguing against here aren't Kopp or Rhee or Bloomberg. You're defending Kopp against a careful and devastating March 9 rebuttal by Anthony Cody, for one. In answer to the same Kopp quote I cited above, he observes:

"This is remarkably vague, but I gather she means that principals should be using this data for evaluative purposes behind closed doors within the school...
... But the idea that this data has any constructive role at all is taking a beating, along with the unfortunate teachers being pilloried by the press.
Blogger and math teacher Gary Rubenstein has done an amazing job analyzing the data that has been made public in New York. Here are some of his findings."
http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/03/vam_gets_slammed_teacher_evalu.html

I know you've read Cody's piece, and Rubensteins magnificent deconstruction of the New York scores. I truly believe you're trying to deflect the narrative away from it, and bury it with this mealy-mouthed whitewash. Shame.

I loved Cody's and Rubenstein's posts. Would you be satisfied if I condemned the: Rhee/Bloomberg/Koop/Bush/Scott/Kelin/Christie/Cerf/Emmanuel/Walker/Kasisch/Hoffman/Grier/Edelman/Duncan/Ed Trust/TNTP/Chief for Change/.../.../.../.../.../.../.../.../.../.../.../.../.../.../ etc. axis? I bet that would win over the younger generation of educators

Are TFA corps members evaluated by their students' test scores? If so, are student gains a factor in whether or not a TFA corps member returns to their post each year?

If student test scores are not part of TFA evaluations, pay and retention, why not?

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