Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post today pushing back against NYC publicly posting the value added scores of teachers. Two parts of her op-ed stuck out to me:
First, Kopp pretty succinctly described how I feel about where education reform and policy stands in 2012 :
No single silver bullet will close our educational achievement gaps—not charter schools, or vouchers, or providing every child with a computer, or improving teachers. Each of these solutions may have merit as part of a larger strategy, but on their own they distract attention from the long, hard work required to ensure that our schools are high-performing, mission-driven organizations with strong teams, strong cultures and strong results.
That’s why Teach For America focuses on channeling the energy of our country’s future leaders against the problem of educational inequity. Investing in their success as teachers is important not only for today’s students but also for cultivating their long-term leadership potential inside the classroom and outside of it—preparing them to drive changes in the ways schools operate, in the ways our school systems promote teacher development, and in the political and community contexts in which schools exist.
Essentially, Kopp states that TFA teachers are not here to only invest in the communities where they teach, but also stick around to impact long-term educational change. This change is not limited to “inside my four walls” classroom teaching, but instead focuses on bringing communities together around positive reform that impacts the achievement of students.