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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Duval County School Board really sticks it to poor black kids… again

When the Duval County School Board expanded the district’s contract with Teach for America they said loud and clear they don’t really care what happens to our poor and African American children because that is who TFA primarily works with.

Even after Paula Wright pointed out that zero from the first class, five percent of the second class and eighteen percent of the third and fourth classes of TFA teachers remain working for the district, that there were no apples to apples comparison with how TFA teachers are doing compared to other first and second year teachers and how TFA exacerbated our teacher retention problem, the Duval County School board voted to expand their involvement in the county.

Teach for America takes non education types, puts them through a five week access course and then puts them in our most neediest classrooms where they serve two years or the exact opposite of what we know to be best practices. They aren’t cheap either as the district spends an additional 5 million (600 thousand of our own dollars and the rest in grants and donations) dollars on them.

I think the most telling remarks came from school board chair Becki Couch. She said I am challenging TFA to show improvement because if in three years (when this new contract is up) they haven’t I imagine having a very different vote. She chose to accept three years of turnover, mediocrity and putting our poor and mostly African American students in a hole rather than redoubling the districts efforts to put professional teachers and lifelong educators in those classrooms and we wonder why we have problems. 

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