Solutions that don’t break the bank, reinvent the wheel or marginalize our teachers are within our grasp. We could have rigorous classes, safe and disciplined schools and treat teachers like valued colleagues rather than easily replaceable cogs, and we could do so tomorrow if we wanted. Disclaimer, this is an opinion and commentary site and should not be confused as a news site. Also know that quite often people may disagree with the opinions posted.
Teachers speak out against Teach for America
I asked about TFA on a Facebook group for teachers and these were the responses.
I just don't get it. Why do we need to PAY for recruits
when districts can hire ACTUAL CERTIFIED teachers for the low cost of a
starting salary. Grrrr
Its a cheap
alternative to hiring experienced teachers. Since I'm one of those experienced
"high dollar" teachers, this really annoys me.
Fight it tooth and nail. TFAs have only six weeks training.
It blows my mind that districts SPEND money to get TFAs who are NOT teachers
with 4 year teaching degrees. As a parent, I would never, ever, allow my child
to be taught by a TFA, just as I would not send my child to a doctor with six
weeks training. Teaching is a profession. Not a temp job.
"It is expensive to train these new teachers, and the
investment is lost when they depart. The inexperienced teachers are less
effective, especially their first year, and if the turnover is high, a
significant portion of them will be first year teachers. As this research
shows, student achievement suffers when staff turnover occurs. These schools
need stability, as do the students. It is difficult to establish and sustain a
solid, positive school culture when turnover is this high. As a result, Oakland
is now making a substantial shift in its hiring practices, away from programs
such as Teach For America. "http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/04/deepening_the_debate_over_teac.html
TFA is about putting long term subs in our classrooms--they
pay them less, don't have to pay step raises, retirement or other benefits and
in two years --they just start all over again--it is just a warm body in a
classroom that fulfills unfunded mandates and keeps those of us with real
professional teaching certifications from getting jobs because we cost
more-demand more and expect more. While the majority of TFA are simply waiting
to get into grad school, get their preferred job or hoping the economy will
improve. 5 weeks of training--great just what I want for my kids in a
Just a way to reduce teacher salaries...and
de-professionalize trained educators. "anyone can do it"...
Teach For Awhile is not cheap - there's a fee attached to
each teacher hired and some administrative fee. It's no bargain - especially
when it probably costs the same to hire an edu-tant as an experienced teacher.
Scabs for America. And many of them are
I have worked with at least 10 TFA teachers and only 1
stayed for more than 2 years. One went on to be part of TFA at the national
level. One is working for a similar program in S. America, two went on to
travel to Australia, one didn't make it past her 1st semester, one opened a
charter school in our district boundaries, and I'm not sure what has happened
to the others. The kids in our district deserve teachers who are in it for the
long haul. Kids become attached to these young teachers but are then asking the
following year, "what happened to Ms. X and Mr. Y?"
The corporate "reformers" heart TFA- keeping
teachers' salaries down is one of their objectives. Besides, do we really want
to use the Peace Corps model for our educational system? Wasn't the Peace Corps
developed to help Third World Countries? Mmmmmmmm.
The district in this case, is obviously looking to use TFA
as a bandaid to what is more than likely a gaping wound. They are sold on it's
pricepoint obviously, and not on it's success rate. Again, they cut budgets at
the classroom level and the kids suffer for it. To me, it matters not how many
TFA teachers are great or not, because the program doesn't adequately prepare
good or bad teachers to be prepared with the realities in the classroom. The
kids end up being the victims of cost cutting measures. Most areas do not have
teacher shortages either, based on the number of RIFs that have been doled out
in the last few years. They cut, then replace with this shoddy program...
would also like to add that there is no "shortage of
teachers"---there is a shortage of political will to pay and support
professional career teachers. The "teacher shortage" is a
manufactured crisis-one of many that education deformers use to push their
agenda of profitting from public education funds.
union busting, too. And I could go on and on too. -cpg