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, and you should know that quite often people may disagree with the opinions posted herein.
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Monday, August 10, 2015
Even the League of Women Voters think the best and brightest scholarship is a Teach for America giveaway
From LWV education issues page:
There is a new young face on the Florida State Board of Education. Rebecca Fishman Lipsey graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and earned her Master’s from the Bank Street College of Education. She taught fourth and fifth grade in New York City from 2004-2006. Then, she joined the staff of Teach for America and served as Executive Director of TFA in Miami from 2008-2012. She formed her own company and was subsequently appointed by Governor Scott to the Florida State Board of Education. She once might have qualified for a Florida’s Best and Brightest teacher bonus.
The bonus program was extracted from a bill that died in the 2015 regular session. Erik Fresen, Chair of the Florida House Education Appropriations Subcommittee, resubmitted the provision during the June special legislative session. Fresen is a representative from Miami and brother-in-law of the head of Academica, the state’s largest for-profit charter management firm.
Of all the education bills that were left hanging at the end of the session, why was this particular program important to Erik Fresen? TFA reports they have 300 corps teachers in Miami. The other Florida TFA program is in Duval County. Gary Chartrand, the former SBE chair, supports charter schools there. Duval County received a Florida DOE grant to expand its TFA program. TFA charges districts finder fees from $2-5,000 per teacher. Perhaps that was the reason for the DOE grant. Maybe this is all in the realm of political horse trading.
I suspect Fresen and the state board members didn't think many people would notice and the ones that did wouldn't care about the blatant attempt to enrich and recruit more Teach for America hobbyists to our state.
Rather than spend the forty-four million dollars on counselors and social workers or art teachers or on the class size amendment or on so many other things that would make a difference, Fresen and company chose to enrich their friends.