The simple fact is that students who apply to TFA are not trained to be teachers. So by refusing to write TFA letters of recommendation, we’re merely telling our students that we can’t recommend them for a job they’re not qualified for.
Like TFA, the Brown MAT program started with an intensive six week summer "bootcamp," where you teach real students in a somewhat unrealistic context for a few hours a day for four weeks. Brown undergrads from the UTEP program also participated in the summer program.
So the UTEP's in particular would be fairly similar in teaching experience to TFA-ers, although they'd probably taken a few more education courses. But the point is, we never would have thought at the end of the summer, "Oh, yeah. These UTEP's are ready now." I mean, they were Brown students, so they mostly seemed like they'd be very good teachers eventually, but it is still hard for me to believe that people can look at a bunch of untrained undergrads and think "Yeah, this is going to solve the problem."