Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast. To contact him, visit his website.
There's a new policy brief showing that Teach for America teachers -- recent college grads plucked from elite schools -- don't do better than credentialed teachers when it comes to student test scores. And the reason is pretty straightforward: They're inexperienced and generally leave before they develop the skills to be effective educators. Before they're thrown in a classroom, TFAers get five weeks of training and over half leave upon completing their two-year commitment; 80 percent leave after three years.
To the presumed chagrin of social conservatives, the soon-to-be-published results of a 20-year study on lesbian parents doesn’t show that their children are damaged. In fact, the children of lesbian parents tend to be better adjusted socially and more competent academically than the children of heterosexual couples. They also have fewer behavioral problems. Dr. Nanette Gartrell of UCLA Law School, one of the study’s authors, says it’s because lesbian parents tend to be more involved.
The avalanche of lawsuits began as soon as Gov. Jan Brewer signed Arizona's immigration-enforcement bill on April 23. By my count, five have been filed so far, with a new one springing up every week or so.