Tuesday, April 17, 2007


My highly scientific study inspired by Teaching in the 408:

Title: Troops for Teachers vs. Teach for America

Hypothesis: Patriotic salty military veterans make better teachers than young idealistic Ivy League graduates.

Method: Google (do I need to say anymore?)

Survey of TFA school principals by Kane, Parsons & Associates, 2005

Quality of Training

Three out of four principals (75 percent) rated Teach For America corps members' training as better than that of other beginning teachers.

Nearly all principals (95 percent) reported that corps members' training is at least as good as the training of other beginning teachers.

Impact on Student Achievement

Nearly three out of four principals (74 percent) considered the Teach For America teachers more effective than other beginning teachers with whom they've worked.

The majority of principals (63 percent) regarded Teach For America teachers as more effective than the overall teaching faculty, with respect to their impact on student achievement.

Supervisor Perceptions of the Quality of Troops to Teachers Program: Completers and Program Completer Perceptions of their Preparation to Teach: A National Survey

Principals overwhelmingly (over 90%) reported that Troops to Teachers are more effective in classroom instruction and classroom management/student discipline than are traditionally prepared teachers with similar years of teaching experience.
Principals stated (89.5%) that T3s have a positive impact on student achievement to a greater degree than do traditionally prepared teachers with similar years of teaching experience.
T3s strongly agreed or agreed that their preparation program equipped them to use research-based instructional practices associated with increased student achievement and effective classroom management behaviors.
School administrators overwhelmingly "strongly agreed" or "agreed" that Troops to Teachers exhibited research-based instructional behaviors to a greater degree than traditionally prepared teachers with comparable years of teaching experience.
Conclusion: While both groups of students do better than traditionally educated teachers, my hypothesis was confirmed. Extensive analysis shows that salty old veterans kick the ass edge out young college educated idealist in the classroom.

Seriously, I think a formal study would make for interesting reading. There are more military veterans than there are top college graduates who would be willing to make teaching a long term career. The military instills a sense of organization, problem solving skills, discipline, and stresses results. Of course it might just be that military veterans are a little bit older and more experienced.

Regardless, I fully support expanding both programs. Anything that increases the number of decent teachers willing to work in disadvantaged and low SES schools is a good thing.

Both sets of teachers bring a different perspective, and a different set of skills to the classroom. I don't think its a matter of the programs competing with each other, as much as complimenting each other.

*Note: This is an edited repost cleaned up for the Carnival of Education.