Are Teach For America Corps Members Highly Qualified to Teach English Learners?: An Analysis of Teacher Preparation for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations

Megan Hopkins, Amy J. Heineke


Teach For America (TFA) places novice teachers, referred to as corps members, in several regions across the United States that have among the highest English learner populations in the nation. In light of this fact, we offer an examination of federal policy and recommend programmatic strategies to better prepare TFA corps members to serve English learners. First, we describe the current Elementary and Secondary Education Act amendment that allows TFA corps members to be considered highly qualified without adequate training to work with culturally and linguistically diverse students. Next, we analyze the organizational curriculum and teacher preparation approach specific to English learners. We then compare TFA’s approach to those used in emerging residency models and community-based programs that prepare teachers for specific local contexts and student populations. We conclude with recommendations for TFA to improve its teaching corps for English learners and other culturally and linguistically diverse students.


Teach for America; Teacher Education; English Learners; Education Policy; Diversity

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ISSN 1920-4175 Critical Education