Does Teach For America's Summer Institute Really Prepare Teachers for the Classroom?

Institute guru Susan Asiyanbi responds to some of the common critiques of the intensive process.

Over the next few weeks, 5,200 new Teach For America members will become first-year teachers in some of this nation’s most challenging school settings. In lieu of a traditional, year-long teacher preparation program, they just spent five weeks attending one of the organization's eight summer training institutes. That short time span makes the institute an intense experience, and critics say it can’t truly prepare corps members to teach.

The institutes are overseen by Susan Asiyanbi, Teach For America’s executive vice president for teacher preparation, support and development, who draws on her personal experience growing up on the South Side of Chicago and working as a corps member in Newark, New Jersey, as well her Kellogg M.B.A. We caught up with her to find out what the organization is doing to improve its training program, and got some answers to some of the common critiques of the process.

GOOD: What does a typical day at the institute look like for a corps member?

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The "Most Advanced High School" in the United States to Be Demolished

Chicago's South Shore High to set to meet the wrecking ball. The decision is stirring racial and class-based controversy in the community.

A Chicago high school labeled in 1969 as the "most advanced high school in the United States" is slated to meet a demolition crew this year.

South Shore High School's crumbling buildings and less than stellar student achievement results—the dropout rate hovers around 52 percent—contributed to the decision to destroy the campus. But a proposal to build a new campus in the school's place is bringing up racial and socioeconomic tensions reminiscent of the issues that surrounded the school's construction more than 40 years ago.

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