From the Comments: DISD Trustee Flores Chimes in on Teach for America's Success

Below, Dallas Independent School District trustee Edwin Flores hopped in the comments to underscore something he said during yesterday's discussion concerning Teach for America. Said the trustee yesterday, TFA corps members in the district "outperform two-thirds of all our teachers in math and science" -- not just first-year teachers or second-year teachers, but all teachers. Brother Bill Holston asked if that was correct; I wrote that he likely meant first-year teachers, at least based on this chart presented to trustees.

To which Flores said: No, he did not misspeak. "My statement is correct, the CEI data reported yesterday compares the TFA Cohort II teachers to ALL teachers in the district, not just first year teachers." He also noted:

The data from last year's TFA cohort was also very impressive, but the total number in the evaluation pool last year was too low for the p-value to be significant. This year the numbers where high enough to make that determination.

TFA has years worth of data to show the effectiveness of its corps members, the Cohort II data validates and adds to that body of data.

Finally, I think that the comments from the principals are the most significant because: they are on the front line, they have the experience as teachers and administrators to evaluate the effects of just a handful of TFA teachers, and they listen to our many great teachers who also support the program as one source of great teachers.

I rang up Flores to make sure that was his comment, then we spoke further about TFA; I'll save that some of that for a later occasion. But Flores is a big fan of Wendy Kopp's corps, and did want to point out to those who question the cost of the contract -- $3 million over five years for a max of 100 new teachers a year -- that it isn't as expensive once you dig into the numbers and keep in mind TFA pays DISD $3,500 per teacher so each each can get his or her alternative certification.

"If you actually net it out, if you take out the money we get back -- which we can't include in the contract -- the total contract price is $1.2 million if we maxed it out over the five years," he says. "You know much we spend just to clean athletic facilities? $1.3 million every year. And this is less than that to get great teachers for five years. And look at Houston. They're up to 500 TFA corps members. They're gonna eat our lunch, man."

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