They aren't cheap either. TFA recruits who serve the entire two years are eligible for up to 11.000 in loan forgiveness, there is a finders fee that the district won't reveal though I am told by other sources it is five thousand dollars and then there is the cost of constant professional development. Rookie teachers typically get more and this program ensures we always will have a greater than normal influx of rookie teachers.
I think the program is a disaster though the superintendent disagrees with me probably because he was only a teacher himself for two years and doesn't value experience.
That's the set up here is the rub.
Superintendent Vitti told community activist Erica Madson when talking about all the turmoil and turnover at First Coast high school, over 90 staff members have left in the two years under principal Alvin Brennan, You will get first pick at this school of all TFA candidates.
Um, my follow up question would have been why would any school want first pick let alone any pick of Teach for America teachers, they do the exact opposite of what we know to be best for our children and assure constant turnover.
She had a few different questions. "I asked why are we not first pick for educators certified for dual enrollment? Why are we not first pick for experienced certified teachers?" He did not answer me.
How does Vitti think it is okay to staff this school with Teach for America recruits? I mean don't the children there deserve certified and qualified teachers.
My bet is he thinks these TFAers won't know the difference if there are brow beaten, talked down to and forced to work eighty hours a week. I actually feel bad for these masters-of-the universe types looking to build their resumes or for something to do before grad school.
I talked to a First Coast TFAer last year and since she has moved on I feel okay sharing parts of our conversation. She talked about all the mental abuse inflicted upon her by the principal, how we would alternate between being condescending and ignoring her and I asked why she didn't go to TFA and ask for help. She told me that TFA told her not to complain and just go along, to suck it up, that if she did complain it might jeopardize her loan forgiveness.
I was blown away. Teach for America didn't care.
Schools have to inform parents if their kids have teachers who are out of field or if they have a needs improvement evaluation but if your son or daughter has a hobbyist with five weeks training its swept under the carpet.
And before I am raked over the coals, yes there are great Teach for America teachers and people that have been teaching professionally or who have trained for years who may have chosen the wrong field. The thing s if you were playing the odds with your child's future you would never pick a Teach for America teacher.
Superintendent Vitti however thinks it is just fine, in fact he kind of bragged about it.