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TFA May Not Be the Answer

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Teacher Leon Gordon is getting his ninth-grade students pumped up for English class at Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.

CLASS: Reading is good: ALL THE TIME! All the time: READING IS GOOD!

He’s one of the 140 teachers who were funneled in through the Teach for America program in Chicago last year. The organization places top recent college grads to teach in low-income classrooms for two years.

Next fall, a record number of these teachers will head Chicago Public Schools classrooms. But that’s not necessarily a good thing for principals who are struggling to retain top-quality instructors.

SLAVIN: I’ll be honest, some do have a problem with the two-year commitment. They’re afraid that they’re going to leave.

Nancy Slavin, who recruits new teachers for CPS, says although some principals are wary of the turnover issue, other principals like the eager recruits.

Last year, just over half the teachers who finished the program continued teaching in the Chicago District schools.

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