September 12, 2013 12:24PM

When Does 5 Weeks of Training Beat 4 Years of Higher Ed?

…when the training is doled out by Teach for America and the higher ed. is a traditional teachers’ college. That’s the conclusion of a new study by Mathematica Policy Research, a respected purveyor of quantitative social science research. The salient details are summarized by Politico:

the researchers found statistically significant gains, which they calculated as the equivalent of about two and a half extra months of learning for students of TFA recruits.… The TFA teachers got better scores from their kids than a comparison group of teachers who went through traditional university training programs.

It kind of makes you wonder, what are they teaching in those four years of university instruction? I haven’t seen a comprehensive recent rundown of the subject, but back in the 1990s a top‐​flight journalist, Rita Kramer, spent a year visiting teachers’ colleges all over the country. What did she find? Well, she called her book Ed School Follies: The Miseducation of America’s Teachers.

I talked a little more about the TFA study with Bob Bowdon at ChoiceMediaTV.