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The Effectiveness of 'Teach for America' and Other Under-certified Teachers on Student Academic Achievement: A Case of Harmful Public Policy

Abstract

The authors compare the academic achievements of primary school students taught by "under-certified" teachers to those taught by "regularly" certified teachers. "Results indicate 1) that students of TFA [Teach for America] teachers did not perform significantly different from students of other under-certified teachers, and 2) that students of certified teachers out-performed students of teachers who were under-certified....Traditional programs of teacher preparation apparently result in positive effects on the academic achievement of low-income primary school children. Present policies allowing under-certified teachers, including those from the TFA program, to work with our most difficult to teach children appear harmful. Such policies increase differences in achievement between the performance of poor children, often immigrant and minority children, and those children who are more advantaged."

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