In the Media

Be proud of UNC's teacher output

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Bill McDiarmid

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In a guest column, Dean Bill McDiarmid suggests that we should take some pride in all of our graduates who choose to go into teaching careers.

McDiarmid writes after news media reported rankings of colleges and universities in terms of how many of their graduates went to work with Teach For America. UNC-Chapel Hill ranked No. 4 in the nation in the number of graduates entering the most recent TFA cohort.

These TFA teachers pledge to spend at least two years working in low-wealth schools that often struggle to attract new teachers, McDiarmid says. But TFA supplies a small proportion of the teachers each year who choose education as a career, he says.

“Without diminishing the contributions of UNC undergraduates who become TFA teachers, we should also acknowledge the students — undergraduates and master’s degree students — who are studying to become teachers, not as a two-year public service commitment but, for most, as a career.

“The School of Education graduated 108 students from its undergraduate teacher preparation programs and another 52 from its Master of Arts in Teaching program last year. No less committed to improving the learning of all students than TFA teachers, most will make education a career.”

McDiarmid points out, another indicator of Carolina’s success in turning out high-quality teachers may be found in the fact that UNC ranks ninth in the nation in the number of its alumni who in 2011 achieved the prestigious recognition of National Board Certification.