Former Teach For America Liaison Publishes Eye-Opening Book on the TFA Program

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Learning on Other People’s Kids: Becoming a Teach For America Teacher by Barbara Veltri presents insiders’ look at the Teach For America program.

When schools lay off experienced teachers to hire Teach For America teachers at beginning salaries, do they get what they paid for? Can you become an instant teacher? What are the consequences for kids and corps members?

When schools lay off experienced teachers to hire Teach For America teachers at beginning salaries, do they get what they paid for?

In Learning on Other People’s Kids: Becoming a Teach For America Teacher, Dr. Barbara Torre Veltri, educator, speaker and TFA program researcher, answers this question, based on her work and interviews with hundreds of TFA teachers. With more than 30 years of teaching experience, Veltri, an award-winning assistant professor at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, is a former Teach for America liaison who developed the model TFA training program that is currently used by Arizona State University.

She asks, “Can you become an instant teacher? What are the consequences for kids and corps members of being hired with less than five weeks of summer TFA training?”

Veltri's vivid real-world account brings to life the findings of others who have examined TFA. In Arizona, researchers David Berliner and Ildiko Laczko-Kerr found that students of TFA teachers achieved at significantly lower levels than those of prepared teachers. In Houston, Texas, Stanford’s Linda Darling-Hammond and colleagues found “no instance where uncertified Teach for America teachers performed as well as standard certified teachers of comparable experience levels,” a finding replicated by another research team in New York City. Commenting on a national study, Barnett Berry, head of the Center for Teaching Quality, noted that, while TFA teachers did about as well as the other underprepared teachers in their schools, “students of Teach For America teachers were still reading more poorly than 85 percent of their peers nationwide, and well below grade level.”

Yet, as Teach for America and similar programs have grown, few have questioned the real consequences for low-income students of color of being taught by a revolving door of beginning teachers who enter with only a few weeks of training. Veltri documents these consequences in detail in this account of the often-courageous efforts of TFA recruits who learn to teach on the job in the face of the double odds presented by their lack of preparation and the circumstances of their work.    

Dr. Veltri has also authored “Teaching or Service? Site-Based Realities of Teach For America Teachers in Poor Urban Schools,” and “Separate and Unequal: Realities in Schools and Teaching to the Test.” She teaches courses in curriculum, methods and assessment for pre-service, career-changers and practicing teachers.

Information Age Publishing is a social science publisher of scholarly book series and journals that define specific niches of high-level research in Education and Management.

For information about this press release, to request media review copies or schedule an interview or in-person appearance, please contact Dr. Barb Veltri at (480) 221-1826.

http://www.infoagepub.com/products/Learning-on-Other-Peoples-Kids
ISBNs: 978-1-60752-442-7 (PB); 978-1-60752-443-4 (HC); 978-1-60752-444-1 (E-book)

Author's web site:
http://www.drbarbaraveltri.com/

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