Teach For America thinks you can put anybody in front of a classroom after a few weeks of boot camp training and they can fill the increasingly growing number of classroom teaching positions that cannot be filled by those from traditional teacher preparation programs.
TFA leaders think education majors are a waste of time.
TFA supplies teachers mainly for schools with poor students and students of color.
In a few cases this works.
Some people are born to teach.
But it is not sustainable and teachers leave TFA in a few years, creating a revolving door of inexperienced teachers.
edTPA also thinks traditional teacher preparation programs are lacking. They will argue that TFA and traditional teacher preparation programs undermine the professional status and quality of our classroom teachers.
They believe – and I have gotten an earful (or rather, Tweetful) this week – that licensure of teachers should look more like the fields of medicine and law.
This has not come from student teachers who have been victims of edTPA. It has come from university people who work for and with edTPA.
They got mad when I mentioned Bill Gates.
Gates is all over Stanford’s SCALE, but not edTPA, they tell me.
I’m told that in New York and Illinois the problem isn’t with edTPA and their 45 teacher functions that appear on their Stanford created rubric.
I’m told the problem is implementation.
It seems the problem is always implementation.
These university researchers have great ideas that just can’t seem to get implemented right.
Even our unions, when they defend Common Core, say the problem with Common Core is implementation.
Clearly we have a continuing problem with implementation.
I get it that Stanford’s SCALE and edTPA folks think that if we don’t build a wall of rubrics, the folks at the National Council on Teacher Quality and TFA will end up sending an army of untrained people into classrooms.
Yet edTPA is having a similar impact. The more hoops we create for student teachers to jump through, fewer of them will be willing to make the leap.
And then we will have the situation we are already starting to see in states with teacher shortages. Provisionally certified teachers in classrooms.
That means they don’t know anything about teaching.
45 checks on lists of teacher functions on a edTPA rubric doesn’t make anyone teacher-ready on their first day on the job. Yet that is their claim.
In my experience, it takes five years before you know what the questions are.
Experience teaching and reflecting on that experience is what makes good teachers.
A rubric of 45 teacher functions? On most days I did 45 teacher functions before noon.
Yes, there is a problem with Pearson’s connections to all this.
Yes, I am sure there are implementation problems.
But it is the conception of teaching as a mostly technical enterprise that can be mastered in time for day-one that is at the root of what is wrong with edTPA.