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Alt Cert: TFA "Interns" Allowed To Keep Teaching ELLs (For Now)

ScreenHunter_01 Mar. 08 19.28Yesterday afternoon, the California Teaching Commission -- headed by Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond -- decided to tighten down on alt cert requirements for roughly 2,200 teachers working with ELL kids -- rather than immediately disqualifying the teachers (officially known as "interns".) 

But it was a close call, and TFA and other alternative certification providers aren't out of the woods just yet.  Read all about it: Interns lose status as authorized English learner instructorsStricter state controls placed on teaching internsHigher standards coming for state’s intern teachers.

One of those who testified against allowing alternative certification candidates to teach ELLs was a TFA alumna Rigel Massaro (pictured, courtesy EdSource Today).  

This is just the latest in a decade-long skirmish between alternative certification critics such as LDH and TFA over the eligibility of its members to work with disadvantaged children.  In California and nationally, TFA members are deemed to be "highly qualified" according to a controversial Bush-era regulation that's been repeatedly challenged in court and in Congress. 

The TFA loophole was last extended by Congress in 2012, with the requirement for a report on the distribution of alternative certification teachers within a year. Read all about it here:  How TFA Almost Got Left Out Of NCLB.  


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This is another aspect of NCLB that Congress should reform when it updates the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I was a master teacher for TFA for four years, until our Locke uprising (taking that opportunity away from me was part of LAUSD's revenge), and while the young people recruited were highly promising, the training they were given prior to starting paid work in some of America's toughest classrooms was pitifully inadequate. TFA's basic conception is tragically ironic, although its demonstrable appeal to exetasecrats (my coinage: "rulers by examination") is testimony to the collective hubris of its founder and its annual cohorts of acolytes: as long as it exists as anything other than a temporary stopgap for teacher shortages, its mission, of providing an excellent education for all of America's children, will ipso facto remain unfulfilled; its very existence makes attaining that goal impossible.

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