They take mostly non education majors, put them through a five week teacher boot camp and then into our neediest classrooms where they are supposed to stay for two years. Meaning our most vulnerable children have an ever revolving door of novice teachers or the exact opposite of what we know they need. Then the program is expensive too, from the finders fees to the thousands the teachers get for grad school or to pay off student loans, to the money it diverts form the philanthropic community which you will read is quite considerable. Finally DCPS is phasing them out, agreeing to keep the teachers from last year but no longer bringing new ones in.
Teach for America Jacksonville seems to do two things well, rake in money and throw parties.
The QEA sent them over 5 million dollars over three years, money that never saw the inside of a classroom. The TPC and their friends in the Florida Legislature have sent them hundreds of thousands of dollars too. Then their donors list reads like a who's who in Jacksonville of people that support charter schools and corporate reforms. They have had millions roll into their office, though it is hard to pinpoint what they do with it.
So what do they do with all this money? Well if there Facebook page is any indication, they throw a heck of a lot of parties.
I wanted to give them a fair account so I decided to scroll down fifty posts. I figured that would be a fair representation and I could get a feel for what they do. If you were to do the same to me, you would be like, gosh this guy likes cat videos and beer to an almost unhealthy level.
I would say the posts broke down into three categories, about a quarter were about preparing/learning to teach and education posts. About half was general stuff, pictures of babies and the like and then a quarter seemed like they were about parties and social events. Seriously friends it reminded me more of a fraternity or sorority's page (minus the drinks) than a serious non profits page and I think that is the point, they aren't serious, they are fun and cool, and hep but they are definitely not serious.
When I was in college I helped found a group called SOSA, student organization for social activities, we liked to play softball, drink beer and have parties but we also did some community service too, raising money for charities. We were fun and cool and hep and like TFA we shouldn't have been teaching your children either.
It's time like more and more communities have done we said goodbye to Teach for America Jacksonville and got on with the serious business of educating children.