Has Teach for America actually helped close the achievement gap?

TFA’s stated goal is closing the achievement gap. Although conceived earlier, it actually was founded in 1990. 19 years in, do we know if it works?

Does anyone know of any studies/research that actually measures TFA’s effects on student achievement in the macro sense? (Meaning, long-lasting trends, and not just random students here and there?) If so, can someone point me to these studies?

We all hear about TFA’s goals and how much it helps the teachers, but is it really changing education for the better?

 

Update, Five Minutes Later:

So, I Google Scholared instead of just googling and I found a few results.  The first couple of studies found that TFA teachers did not raise student achievement as much as traditionally-certified teachers.  

However, I’m okay with that, because I think the real question is: do TFA teachers positively impact the TFA demographic?  We can all say TFA teachers don’t perform as well as Moraga teachers, but that’s not really a valid comparison.  It makes more sense to measure TFA teachers against the underperforming schools and districts in which they serve, NOT against the nation as a whole.

That said, a couple of other studies did measure this sort of thing and found that TFA teachers seem to raise math scores in a statistically significant way but do not have the same effect on reading, student retention, attendance, etc., and are more likely to report student misbehavior.  However, this last part MAY be attributed to the fact that TFA recruits MAY have different behavior expectations than most other teachers do.  (Especially considering that the vast majority of them went to very elite universities, and this trend is only increasing more and more.)

So, in the end, I would like to see many more studies done and much more rigorous research on evaluating TFA teachers within the appropriate demographics, and not just against the national teacher pool.  The question is not, “Are TFA teachers as good as the rest?”, but “Do TFA teachers significantly help the schools and districts they serve?”

Links:

Studies finding that TFA teachers are subpar in comparison to traditionally-certified teachers:

http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v10n37/

http://www.ncate.org/documents/EdNews/StanfordTeacherCertificationReport.pdf

http://www.civilrights.org/extranet/images/db/507/1/CREDO-study.pdf

Studies finding that TFA teachers raise math scores and do not affect other parts of the education experience:

http://www.givewell.net/files/Round2Apps/Cause4/Teach%20For%20America/B/Mathematica%20Study.pdf

http://eric.ed.gov:80/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ776559&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ776559

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/112157407/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

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