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Re: Our June 20 editorial “Does certification make the teacher?”: I know firsthand the critical need Detroit has for teachers. I grew up in this city and attended its schools, and as executive director of Teach For America-Detroit, I witness teachers every day working with families and communities to provide strong educational opportunities for their children.

More people should consider education as a career, but we shouldn’t compromise on ensuring they are committed to Detroit’s children and prepared for the challenging but rewarding work of leading our city’s classrooms. TFA-Detroit is one partner in the work to draw more committed leaders into education and to ensure that every child has access to an excellent education. We believe our city must be innovative in creating strong alternative pathways to teaching, but should do so without making concessions on high standards and rigorous support for our teachers.

TFA asks participants to make a lifetime commitment to expanding opportunities for all children, beginning with teaching in high-need classrooms. TFA teachers are certified through the state’s alternative certification process before they enter the classroom, which they earn and maintain by demonstrating a minimum undergraduate GPA; passing the appropriate Michigan Tests for Teacher Certification; and participating in rigorous training and enrolling in ongoing coursework at the University of Michigan. Then all teachers work in partnership with their colleagues and their instructional coaches to improve their practice.

TFA-Detroit has witnessed the tremendous student growth that this model of teacher preparation can yield. We believe that all teachers, no matter their path to the classroom, should participate in intensive and ongoing training. Our students deserve nothing less.

Tiffany Taylor, executive director

Teach For America, Detroit

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