Good luck, Jake — and good luck, kids

In the wake of an upbeat Urban Institute report on the performance of Teach for America high school teachers (or rather the performance of their students on end-of-course tests in North Carolina)… Update: Eduwonkette actually read it and she’s not impressed.

…and the news that TFA, after a year of “prodigious growth” in its supply of newly graduated Ivy League volunteers (11% of the graduating class at Yale applied), will place 3,700 new teachers this fall, a 28 percent increase…

and a policy brief by Arizona State prof Gene Glass calmly making the case that alternative teacher certification programs have been oversold, lack much evidence of demonstrated success, and will damage America over time by degrading the complex work of teaching…

…comes “Meet Jake,” a blog post by urban California teacher TMAO, who announces his plans to resign and introduces his likely replacement, a well-intentioned but naïve Yale senior who doesn’t have a clue what he’s getting into.

TMAO, a.k.a. Kilian Betlach, is a Teacher for America alum himself. He’s been “Teaching in the 408” long enough to know the odds on the “smart-and-excited-trumps-experienced gamble” that TFA represents.

Kilian’s credo is included in the banner of his blog (which is up for Best Ed Blog at today’s Edin08 blogging summit). It reads:

We must reject the ideology of the “achievement gap” that absolves adults of their responsibility and implies student culpability in continued under-performance. The student achievement gap is merely the effect of a much larger and more debilitating chasm: The Educator Achievement Gap. We must erase the distance between the type of teachers we are, and the type of teachers they need us to be.

TMAO’s selected image of himself (above) depicts a bound and blindfolded captive of pirates, about to walk the plank.