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Teach for America enters third year in Ohio
This year's TFA corps grew slightly over last year, and is more diverse.
Story by BILL RICE


Teach for America is entering its third year of placing its recruits in Ohio classrooms. TFA teachers are chosen for being high college achievers, and are able to bypass the state's standard licensing process. StateImpact Ohio's Bill Rice reports this year's TFA corps grew slightly over last year, and is more diverse.

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Teach for America has been around for 24 years, but was only given entre into Ohio’s classrooms in 2011, at the urging of Governor Kasich. This year 190 TFA teachers - 20 more than last year - are employed in two Ohio regions: 75 in the southwest in and around Cincinnati and Dayton, and 115 in the northeast in Cleveland and nearby suburbs, with teachers placed in both charter and traditional schools. Holly Trifiro, who directs the northeast corps, says while TFA is allowed by law to place teachers anywhere in the state, it’s confined the program to those two areas. 

“…and that’s really about our capacity ito both funding and partnerships and making sure that we’re keeping our footprint small enough that we’re able to really support the teachers we’re working with well.”

New recruits this year are more diverse than last year, with 40 percent statewide identifying themselves as persons of color, compared to just 29 percent last year. Trifiro says that’s important since they are often placed in schools with high concentrations of minority students. 

Teach for America recruits’ typically don’t have teaching degrees, but are graduates in some other field and undergo an intensive five week orientation before entering the classroom. Their selling point is that they earned top grades from good schools, and can bring that same energy and performance standard to teaching. But critics say TFA recruits lack the extensive training and experience required to manage a classroom full of kids - especially in low-performing schools in impoverished neighborhoods. 

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For more background on TFA, check out

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