by Lloyd Bentsen IV, Megan Simons
National Center for Policy Analysis
July 24, 2014
There is a shortage of qualified classroom teachers, especially in inner-city schools. However, a privately funded program called Teach For America (TFA) fills the teacher gap in many schools. The program recruits, trains, pays and evaluates teachers in a manner that most education reformers would support. Research suggests that TFA corps members are at least as effective as traditionally-trained teachers with similar levels of experience. The students of TFA corps members experience significant gains in all subject areas, particularly math and reading. In a competitive free market, teachers throughout the educational system would compete for pay based on their performance and would be selected based on merit rather than formal credentials. TFA’s success shows what can be done within the existing education system and suggests that system-wide educational improvement could be achieved through universal school choice.