People: Teacher's Disappointing Charter / TFA Choice

There are so many reasons to hate on Timeica Bethel, I don't know where to start.  She's doing Teach For America (not even a real teacher).  She went to an Ivy League school (instead of being loyal to Chicago). She went to a private high school (instead of staying on the SW side) after graduating from Hearst. Capping it all off, she's signed on to teach at a charter school rather than a real school with real kids. Doesn't she know that only real teachers teaching at real schools teach real kids?


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  • Alexander, there is something wrong with District 299 Website! All you see is black!

  • Alexander, It's working now.

  • Alexander. I hated your intro to this story/thread. You are becoming a smart-ass like those whom you often chastise. Please don't -- we have enough cynacism in the world.

  • Timeica Bethel is one very lucky woman, the chances of her getting the National Association of Independent Schools full family economic support package for any of the member schools in Chicago is a very long one let alone for FW Parker. She is also smart because she openly admits she was lucky in the Tribune article. Clearly she is an impressive woman and her grandmother Mary Lewis who guided Timeica deserves some type of an award for outstanding parenting.

    But the Tribune article indicates that Timeica's grandmother also apparently was not successful in raising her own daughter Tianda Bethel who apparently became a crack addict and abandoned Timeica. I have no doubt that the grandmother also attempted to raise Timeica's mother with the same skill she raised Timeica, but it did not work possibly because of random chance, genetics, or whatever.

    So we have luck and apparently we also have the fact that Timeica got a reasonably good education at Hearst Elementary School. But given the fact that Timeica graduated from Hearst in about 2003, she again is very lucky. The 2003 data for Hearst indicates that Timeica was likely the only one of two 8th graders exceeding State standards on the ISAT in the school. About half the students at Hearst the year Timeica graduated were testing at state standards, about two students were exceeding those standards, and apparently one of those was Timeica.

    Given Timeica's good fortune it is not surprising she wants to give something back to the community, at least for a while. Why do I add that caveat, not just to irritate Alexander Russo who already assumes based on his introduction a mass blog attack on Teach for America in relation to this blog post, rather I say this because she says so herself. Her goal according to the article is "becoming a talk show host or a famous writer." There is no evidence Timeica has a goal of becoming a lifelong teacher or even a teacher for any particular length of time. In this regard Timeica is a very typical Yale graduate going into TFA.

    Timeica is going to teach at LEARN charter school in North Lawndale, but these children's odds of having the good fortune she had are only somewhat better than her own. In 2010 there were only 6 of the 133 LEARN's 8th grade students at all campuses exceeding state standards in every area. At the North Lawndale charter there are only ISAT scores for grade 3 students in 2010, and about 12 of 82 third graders were exceeding standards in every area.
    The one thing Timeica cannot give these LEARN students and that was the big advantage she got at FW Parker where "she learned how to blend in (wear jeans and a Parker T-shirt), how to make small talk with adults (shake hands, smile and keep the conversation moving), how to dress for a job interview (leave the big hoop earrings at home)," in other words she learned how to survive in a world of wealth and privilege. As the students I taught at Calumet High School used to say, she learned to "act white."

    I will bet Timeica does a great job at LEARN charter school and I also bet if she gets offered a job at Fox, CBS, or NBC in a year or two she will be gone from teaching. But I hope I lose that bet. Actually I do not think there is a lot to hate about Timeica Bethel, contrary to Alexander's presumption of how many of us would view this story.

    Here is what I would love to see Timeica do, gain experience teaching at LEARN charter. Leave and go to graduate school in education and become a great educator like Linda Darling-Hammond who also graduated from Yale with her BA and also taught for a while at a charter school and in traditional public schools. Though Darling-Hammond has acknowledged that TFA has brought new talent into the teaching profession, she is still a critic of the program. In the spring of 2005, a study published by Stanford researchers including Darling-Hammond, concluded that teachers in Houston who entered without completing training and certification, including TFA teachers, were initially less effective than traditionally credentialed teachers and left the teaching profession at higher rates. She has said: "Our study doesn't say you shouldn't hire Teach For America teachers, our study says everyone benefits from preparation, including Teach For America teachers

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Excellent analysis, thoughtful and realistic, Rod.

  • Hiring TFAs while firing 1,299 experienced teachers is another form of union busting. It devalues credentials, experience and advanced degrees. This is a lot like 1980, when Jane Byrne decided to bust the firefighters union. It's more devious and supported by the Dept. of Education and Arne Duncan.

  • readers spend all day on this blog tearing people down for where they come from, how old they are, etc. bemoaning how mistreated they've been but then when i try and make light of that you think i'm serious. as you'll see from some of the other comments i was trying to make a point (and failing, obv)

  • Went to Yale and couldn't get a job in her field of study. Doesn't make Yale look very credible at job placement.

  • yes -- as i've written about many times before on this site i am one of them those bratty few.... spared from nettlehorst during the 1970s. where'd *you* go? :-)

  • speaking of TFA, a bunch of grads have gone off to become principals and are coming back to take over whole schools -- catalyst has some of the details here

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Great! As if TFA’s haven’t caused enough damage in the classroom; they have to expand their destructive incompetence to include entire schools.

    Just look at the astounding difference that former TFA and now Matthew A. Henson Elementary School Principal, has had since he has taken ‘leadership’.

    2011 Overall Meets or Exceeds 2011: 54.6
    2012 Overall Meets or Exceeds 2012: 41.5
    Overall Meets or Exceeds Change: –13.1

    2011 Reading Meets or Exceeds 2011: 45.9
    2012 Reading Meets or Exceeds 2012: 38.8
    Reading Meets or Exceeds Change: ¬–7.1

    2011 Math Meets or Exceeds 2011: 61.4
    2012Math Meets or Exceeds 2012: 47.6
    Math Meets or Exceeds Change: –13.8

    Science Meets or Exceeds 2011: 60
    Science Meets or Exceeds 2012: 30.8

    Science Meets or Exceeds Change: –29.2

  • @Alexander where should I start First of all her story alone is education alone for young kids everywhere. Personally as a parent if my kids had an opportunity to get out of chicago to enhance their education and life in general I would Encourage it. The difference between Charter Schools and Public Schools are mainly the difference in education of the teacher. Also Ms. Bethel is very much a real teacher, yes she could've very much taught at a public school but who would want to I mean the overcrowded classes alone is enought to turn a person away. As a parent I would NEVER put my children back in a public school. My girls are in 7th grade already on a 9th grade academic level. Most of the SCHOLARS that comes out of Learn Charter School goes to The Top High Schools in Chicago and that could has alot to do with the student to teacher ratio I mean 18 student and 2 teachers per class who can beat that. My children have been a product of both Public and Charter Schools I appreciate all the Public School Teachers do but I'm sorry would pick Charter over anything. ALso before you start judging Charter Schools maybe you should try getting to know a little more about them. Besides if Oprah acknowledge their Misson they must be doing something right cause we all know that she 's not really for us like that. Now in closing don't be a follower don't let other oppinion and feelings influence your own. Now Ms. Bethel is a wonderful teacher and Learn Cherter School is Blessed to have her.

  • @rodestvan i don't know where you get your information but you clearly need to check your sources as far as test scores because altough Learn Scholars do Participate in ISTAT testing they have a different test that their academic are based on it's called M.A.P. and B.A.S.S. also Learn Charter Network testing Scores are never Combined they are graded as the diffenent schools that they are. lastly if you check 2010-2011 8th grade test scores 90+% of the Scholars passed and exceeded the ISTAT test soon get your fax in order.

  • In reply to LearnCharterParent:

    The post you are responding to was from March of 2011. There is no such thing as the ISTAT, its the ISAT. The data cited for 2010 came directly from CPS research and evaluation. You are correct in what you wrote because the ISBE report card indicates that 99% of Learn charters eight graders were listed as meeting or exceeding state standards in reading in 2010 and 78% in math. But what I wrote was only discussing those students "exceeding" state standards and not meeting state standards. To exceed state standards you have to be at level 4 not at level 3.

    In 2010 only 5.6% of Learn Charter School 8th graders exceeded state standards in reading and 22.2% in math. In my March of 2011 post I used raw numbers not percentages to be exact. What I wrote is correct and my facts were correct.

    Rod Estvan

  • My position is the same you have it or you don't.Perhaps the young lady will find her calling and stay,in any case she will know in a couple of
    months teaching.

  • This is such a ridiculous and negative thread. You don't have a clue.

  • Well, clue us in then Eraina.

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