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September 17, 2018
Michigan’s ‘band-aid’ for filling teaching jobs is expanding. Here’s what you need to know.
There aren’t enough qualified teachers to fill classrooms across Michigan — and especially in Detroit. That’s why state officials have opened the door…
August 11, 2015
City’s incoming Teach for America class hits five-year low
Teach for America, which places new teachers in hard-to-staff public schools, will send 230 teachers into city schools this fall, down from 400 teachers last year.
February 13, 2013
Kopp, Teach for America's founder, shifts to international role
Teach for America's founding CEO, Wendy Kopp (center), is being replaced by two top executives at the 23-year-old nonprofit. (Photo: Teach for America) Nearly 24 years after first sketching out Teach for America in her undergraduate thesis, founding CEO Wendy Kopp is stepping down from running the organization, according to a decision that its board approved on Tuesday. Kopp will instead focus on running Teach for All, the nonprofit she launched in 2007 to support organizations in other countries as they adopt the Teach for America model of recruiting and training strong teachers to work in high-need schools. Two dozen countries currently have Teach for All programs. Kopp's departure marks the start of a new phase for Teach for America, which grew from 500 teachers in 1990 to more than 10,000 in 46 regions today, including nearly a thousand in New York City, along the way jumpstarting a paradigm shift in teacher preparation. Nonprofit organizations are notorious for tending to struggle after their charismatic founders move on. But Kopp's successors have been steeped in her leadership.
October 18, 2012
Union: City is the reason, not the solution, for teacher shortages
The Department of Education hasn't officially submitted a proposal to train and certify its own teachers, but already the plan has encountered stiff resistance. Just two days after a top department official floated the idea during testimony at Governor Cuomo's education reform commission, New York City teachers union president Michael Mulgrew said he "strongly opposes" any effort to give the city authority over teacher certification, a process currently reserved almost exclusively for education colleges. State and city officials contend that handing off certification duties to the education department would help chip away at the long-standing problem of teacher shortage some subjects. But citing teacher attrition data from the 2006-2007 school year, Mulgrew wrote in a letter to commission Chair Richard Parsons today that if anyone is to blame for the teacher shortages in the school system, it is the education department. Of the 6940 teachers hired that year, 38.9 percent have left the system, according to data provided by the UFT. That rate increased to 50 percent for teachers of Science, English and English as a Second Language. "The specific problems of staffing these shortage areas are not a function of poor teacher training in existing institutions, but rather the DOE’s abysmal record of supporting, developing and retaining the teachers it already has," Mulgrew wrote.
March 21, 2012
Fiscal picture, turnaround open more spots for new teachers
A slightly improved fiscal picture and a higher-than-usual number of anticipated vacancies mean more new teachers are likely to enter city classrooms this fall. Two groups that prepare new teachers, the national nonprofit Teach for America and the city's own Teaching Fellows program, both say they are planning to boost the number of recruits that they direct toward city schools. Together, they are anticipating hiring about 1,100 new teachers — far fewer than in their heyday but up by more than a third since last year. The groups are by no means the only source of new teachers for city schools, whose principals also hire teachers trained through traditional certification programs and teachers who are already working in other districts. But their anticipated enrollment represents a barometer for evaluating the city's teacher hiring climate, which for years has been dampened by restrictions introduced in 2009. Then-Chancellor Joel Klein introduced the restrictions as a way to cut costs when economic recession kicked in and the city's fiscal picture dimmed. They have not been lifted, but over time the Department of Education exempted some subjects and geographic areas and now says on its teacher hiring page that restrictions f0r the 2012-2013 school year "are unavailable at this time," suggesting that principals might well face different or fewer constraints when filling open positions this year. Why the change? One big reason is that the city's finances are on the upswing: Unlike in recent years, Mayor Bloomberg is not threatening teacher layoffs this summer, saying that the city's improving fiscal picture does not warrant them. In addition, the city is planning a massive organizational change, "turnaround," at 33 schools that could free up as many as 1,700 positions for new teachers — many of which would fall under an exemption in the existing hiring restrictions.
September 14, 2011
To transform failing schools, new teachers take up residence
A Bank of America employee, a fashion industry veteran, and a 311 operator are among the newest additions to the city's teaching corps. They are among 26 people being eased into the classroom through a new city program designed to train – and retain – high-quality teachers specifically for the city's worst-performing schools. Launched with little fanfare this summer, the NYC Teaching Residency for School Turnaround is the city's latest effort to attract talent using an alternative certification program. But unlike the city's NYC Teaching Fellows program, the residency isn't throwing its trainees straight into the classroom. Nor is it quickly relieving them from their obligation to the city. Instead, the program requires them to make a lengthier commitment, but only after they've spent a year working as assistants to in the classroom. The teachers-in-training have been dispersed into two schools undergoing federally-funded "transformation" — Queens Vocational and Technical High School and J.H.S. 22 Jordan L. Mott — and are part of an experimental effort to overhaul schools deemed "persistently low-achieving" by the state. Borrowing heavily from models that preceeded it in recent years, the program comes amid a growing nationwide focus on improving both the teacher quality and retention rates in high-needs urban schools.
December 22, 2009
Tisch's dissertation gives clues into teacher training overhaul
Not long before Merryl Tisch became head of the state's public schools, she was a student herself, at Teachers College. There she wrote a doctoral dissertation on what would become her pet issue, teacher training. The dissertation offers a window into Tisch's oft-cited critique of teacher preparation — one that is far more robust and detailed than the stock line she uses in speeches. Publicly, Tisch and education commissioner David Steiner have offered a barebones roadmap for changing how teachers are prepared. Last month, the Board of Regents approved an expansion of the number of alternative teacher certification programs in the state, opening the door for non-university programs to certify teachers. Steiner has often spoken of increasing classroom-based training, and Tisch told me in an interview that the Board would seek programs "with a track record of success." But the Board hasn't been more specific about what they will look for in these programs, or how many they seek to approve, or what exactly a training program completed without the aid of a college or university will look like.
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