You realize why it’s important to get involved in politics or education policy.
“Under No Child Left Behind, all children are supposed to have highly qualified teachers, school districts are supposed to let parents know which teachers are not highly qualified, and these teachers are supposed to be equitably distributed in schools. They aren’t. It turns out that teachers still in training programs are disproportionately concentrated in schools serving low-income students and students of color, the very children who need the very best the teaching profession has to offer. The inequitable distribution of these teachers also has a disproportionate impact on students with disabilities.”
I find it a travesty that our legislative system is setting up the urban school systems to get even further behind by designating TFA as “highly qualified.” No one is “highly qualified” without on-the-job experience or without adequate preparation for said job. In my sixth year in a low-income school with students of color, I am finally starting to feel *somewhat* qualified. The Ivy League degree on my transcript and gold stars on my resume correlate in no way with my qualifications as a teacher. I had about 45 more weeks of training than TFAers do, and I still struggled to make incremental gains over my first two years. Bringing in neophytes with two-year contracts makes more financial sense than investing in a teacher who will only end up costing more as she advances up the pay scale, but it’s perpetuating a vicious cycle of inequity in the schools which need the most support.