The Achievement Gap and Middle School Math

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 22 2011

T minus 2 weeks!

Round 0 ended this week (this was the 4-day TFA session designed to get us ready for school to start–in two weeks!). Overall, it went pretty well. Among other things, I got to meet my TFA MTLD (Manager of Teacher Leadership Development–basically my TFA boss) and the rest of my math teaching cohort. They all seem like good people, which is nice!

I still haven’t heard what grade/classes I will be teaching. I know it will be 7th or 8th grade math, but I don’t know which classes and I don’t know how many different classes I’ll have to prep for each day. I’m hoping to hear any day now! Unfortunately, it might take a while longer to find out…. the list of Georgia schools making AYP (adequate yearly progress) was released yesterday. Many of the schools in my district did make AYP last year. Hooray! However, my school did not make AYP for a few subgroups of students in math and English and, unfortunately, this is the second year my school did not make AYP, which means my school is now subjected to “consequences” from the state.

At this stage, this means that the school has to send a letter home to parents telling them that they can switch their kids to another local middle school if they want. They have until August 5th to do so….which is fine, except that this is the Friday before school starts on the following Monday (August 8th), which doesn’t give the school much time to finalize class lists (and make decisions about staffing)….and the schools where all of these students will be going will have the same problem for the opposite reason. Hopefully, I will find out what I am teaching sometime before then!

In other TFA news, all of the Atlanta corps members who took their GACE (Georgia Assessment for the Certification of Educators) exams this summer got the results back earlier this week. Unfortunately, a sizable number of people did not pass (particularly those taking the math tests).  Passing these tests is required in order to teach in Georgia. The TFA people that didn’t pass can delay working for TFA until next year, try to get transferred to a region which doesn’t required any exams for certification, or try to sub for a few weeks at the beginning of the year and try to take the test again. A very unfortunate situation all around. : (

I’m actually kind of frustrated that TFA placed people in subjects for which they failed their GACE tests. All of these amazing and passionate people are now stuck in an awful situation. For all of these people, I am certain that there are  subjects for which they could have passed their tests and been awesome teachers. There are people who were assigned to teach math (and take the math tests) who haven’t taken any math since junior year of high school. It must be pretty awkward when TFA has to call a bunch of principals and let them know that one of the teachers that was placed at their school didn’t pass the test that covers content knowledge in the subject they were supposed to have been teaching. It makes TFA look a little silly! If there were just a few people that didn’t pass, I could see people arguing that they simply should have studied more. However, since there were so many people that didn’t pass, it instead makes me think there is a deeper problem with TFA’s system of assigning people to subjects they aren’t qualified to teach.

My first day of work is officially on Monday. Next week, we have a whole-district new-teacher-orientation on Monday and then a school-level new-teacher-orientation later in the week (supposedly, since I haven’t gotten the details on this yet). The following week is an in-service week for all teachers and the week after that is the first day of school! All very exciting!! I can’t wait to get started!!!

3 Responses

  1. How many, would you say, didn’t pass?

  2. zacksg1

    I don’t know the exact number, so I’m not going to speculate publicly, but there were alot…

  3. Lyn Robertson

    Do you know what is on the test? There may be something awry with the test itself.

Post a comment

About this Blog

Closing the achievement gap with middle school math

Metro Atlanta
Middle School

Subscribe to this blog (feed)