New Orleans schools superintendent Paul Vallas has hired 128 top college graduates from the Teach for America service program to teach in one of the nation's most struggling school districts.
Teach for America recruits college graduates to teach for two-years in difficult school districts after only an eight-week training program. The idea is that idealistic andenthusiastic young people can have help close the achievement gap.
In this part of a series on education, NewsHour correspondent John Merrow talks to the New Orleans superintendent and to TFA teachers in New Orleans about their experiences in the classroom.
"Almost everyone agrees that teachers are the single most important factor in a child's education." - John Merrow, NewsHour correspondent
"I knew that I was coming into one of the most difficult educational situations in the country. A lot of these kids have seen murder, seen Katrina, and so there's almost nothing that they're scared of. Dealing with that when I am supposed to be in a position of authority, in some ways, my hands are tied." - Daniel Hoffman, TFA teacher
"I had a student acting up a few weeks ago that had never really -- he would sleep during class all the time. And I find out that he's homeless. There's no way that me being nicer or stricter or more motivational is going to change the fact that he doesn't have a home." - Lindsay Ordower, TFA teacher
1. Who becomes a teacher?
2. How do teachers train to teach?
3. What are some characteristics of struggling schools?
1. What qualities do you think make a good teacher?
2. What are the social or economic conditions that make it difficult for some kids to do well in school?
3. Would you want a Teach for America teacher to teach you? Why or why not?
4. What did you think of this video? Do you think its a good idea to hire inexperienced but enthusiatic young people to teach impoverished schools?