From the New York Times’ Room for Debate series:
A Times article this week described the stiff competition among graduates from top colleges for jobs with Teach for America. “Teach for America has become an elite brand that will help build a résumé, whether or not the person stays in teaching,” writes Michael Winerip, the On Education columnist for The Times.
But, Mr. Winerip noted, the 20-year-old program has gotten mixed reviews from education experts, who complain that the recruits do not stay long enough to gain the experience to make them effective teachers. T.F.A.’s proponents point out that the poorest schools don’t attract the top career teachers to begin with. Does Teach for America’s popularity among top students raise the status of the teaching profession? Or is there a risk that it makes teaching seem more like a personal steppingstone, rather than a lifetime career?
Update: some great letters to the editor on the topic.