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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The absolute wacky things Darryl Willie says.

It’s no secret I don’t like Teach for America in the city. It makes our administration lazy, because instead of searching for professional teachers they take hobbyists who think I will give that a try and then they are put with our neediest children or the exact opposite of what we know is best for them.

Furthermore they are insulting to professional teachers saying anybody can do my job even without an education or experience and that’s not true, then they also have pay, benefit and pension ramifications for teachers and are expensive. When combined with the 3,000-dollar finders fee we pay, we spend a disproportionate amount of money on them only to watch them quickly leave. It’s a bad deal all around. 

Darryl Willie disagrees. He came through their ranks and is proud of his affiliation, though for some reason he doesn’t mention them on his campaign web site. Regardless he loves them.

From WJCT: An audience member asked the candidates whether or not schools should notify parents if their child's teacher is a TFA recruit.
Willie, a former TFA member, said he would not support such a measure.
“True, some of our Teach for America recruits don’t have years and years of experience, but the screening process they go through to stand in front of those students is quite intense,”

Um, years and years of experience? How about no experience, any at all and forgive me but I don’t think their stints as camp counselors in training for two weeks one summer when they were sixteen is relevant. TFA’s model is to take non-education majors who are recent grads, to put them through a five-week access course and then into our neediest schools with our neediest children. Or and say it with me, the exact opposite of what we know to be best for those children.

Is there a screening process? Yes. Is it rigorous, I’m not sure because as a lark last spring I almost set up an interview saying I was about to graduate from UNF with my psychology degree.

Then think about this not only are they starting the school year but most of them are in the process of moving too. That’s right folks they are sent all across the country and few end up in their hometowns and that’s a lot going on.

Now he could have said, they are enthusiastic or excited, but for him to even to bring up experience, as a possibility for some isn’t even remotely true.

Let me ask you this question. Who do you want teaching your child, and I freely admit there are some great TFA teachers, and some poor professional ones, but playing the odds, do you want a professional teacher with education and experience or some recent grad who says I will give that a try, then goes through a five week access course and them moves to a new city. It’s not even close in my mind.

Darryl Willie and TFA think they are the heroes of the story, giving up two years of their lives to help inner city children, but the real heroes are the teachers that toil year in and out, often in anonymity, with little support, who Teach for America is trying to squeeze out.


  1. Don't they also get their student loans forgiven? I thought that was the big incentive of TFA but no one mentions it.

  2. They get something like 10,500 forgiven. So not everything but a nice chunk.