Teach for America broke ground when it opened a new chapter this fall in San Diego, but it was a tough sell.
The idea behind TFA is pretty straightforward. Take college grads, train them as teachers and then embed them for at least two years in underserved, low-income communities. Since 1990 TFA has amassed an alumni network 32,000 strong.
The idea of opening a local TFA chapter had been kicked around for years, without advancing. Jack McGrory, former city manager of San Diego, said that after his daughter joined TFA he got hooked on the idea of recruiting bright college grads to teach in inner-city schools.
McGrory initiated much of the conversation in San Diego, but said at first he didn’t find a very receptive audience. “Initially we were pretty stiffly rebuffed by the district,” he said.
Historically, unions have resisted TFA, in part because it brings in new teachers who can compete with educators already in the district. Locally, the tension is underscored by the fact that not so long ago, the San Diego Unified school board voted to lay off over 1,500 staff members.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
There is no need for TFA in the current economic milieu. Class sizes have increase from 50 to 150% in the county. Teachers have been pink slipped(laid off) since 2009. TFA does not answer gnawing questions regarding the "Common Core" and how the new standards will look like in the classroom. New and enthusiastic and, perhaps naive, teachers abound. The problems of the prek-8 classroom have yet to be solved by charter, politics, nor curriculum. And TFA, again, cannot answer those questions. TFA cannot be a competitor for jobs in California. That is morally wrong. TFA can work only if subsidized by grantors for specialized jobs at the schools and after school programs. Specialized jobs? Yes. Our number one problem(?) is second language learners. Theorists and social scientists agree that learning a second language takes a lot of time and intensive study with small groups. A classroom of 31+ students with second language learners is destined for ultimate and immediate failure. That is absolutely not to say that eventually those students will take traction. But time is of the essence.
No. The need is for additional help, either in the classroom with small group instruction, or before school or after school small group instruction. And, TFA cannot cost the district ANY money. TFA teachers are for the short term and , therefore, a short term fix. With continual help from TFA, a difference can be made. Unions are not the issue. Employment is.
Good article, making right wing connection to ALEC..and TFA.
The donor list for TFA doesn't look like a right wing hotbed to me.
Supportershttp://www.teachforamerica.org/where-we-work/san-diego/supporters500,000+ 200,000+ 100,000+ 10,000+ 1,000+ 200,000+ The Whitman-Harsh Family Foundation 100,000+ 50,000+ Galinson Family Foundation 10,000+ Cushman Family Foundation Farrell Family Foundation 5,000+ San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) 1,000+ Thank You ...
What I didn't get from the article is if there is a need that TFA is filling. Are there schools that were haing a hard time finding good teachers? I have heard frustration from the (fantastic) younger teachers at my neighborhood elementary school because of the lack of job certainty, that every year they have to start from scratch looking for new "temporary" positions. Is there a lack of competition for some teaching positions?
Search..ALEC and Teach for America..
Some interesting information about how Teach for America operates and who supports it.
That does make more sense, thank you. I, for one, am glad to see that people are trying to find a way to work together.
As I understand it, TFA brings in teachers where there weren't enough before. Traditionally, that includes high school/ middle school math and science, as I believe is the case is SD Unified. If the district already has enough elementary school teachers, TFA won't bring in more. Hope this helps!
TJ Apple, i understand that blaming unions is a popular talking point, but can you give any specific examples of how our education system is, "stymied by the unions"?
TFA is just one more right wing plan to undermine the teachers' union. Whether it's charter schools, vouchers, state bills to do away with tenure, Up4Ed or Michelle Rhee's organization, all to undercut the union, because the union is a big contributor to Democratic candidates.
Cindy Marten is a trusting, inexperienced leader who likes phrases like "listening to our partners", "broad diversity of opinion", "listening tours" and "build communities"...lots of blather and babble...All the while, these sharks are stealing jobs and undercutting salaries of experienced, competent teachers.
Yikes Francesca, a little paranoid are we? I don't buy the whole 'right wing' conspiracy thing but I fully support choice in education and a weakening of the union grip on it. As long as our education system remains stymied by the unions I will never vote another dime to education at the ballot box. Reform education now!
Is there a full time union employee who monitors these reports? Every time there is an article, it seems a pro-union supporter writes in - oh, yeah I forgot it's not in their contracts to work.
If you're interested in the "fair and balanced" story of TFA, read this article.
Written by a teacher with Teach For America
Lopez's answer to the attrition question does not ring true. It is known that TFA teachers don't stick around very long after they complete the required two years. As for a high attrition rate among all teachers that might be explained by knowing that if you don't get a permanent contract after two years it is time to move on. Year to year there are not many permanent teaching jobs available. Most teachers get permanent jobs by substituting in the district they want to work for.They make a name for themselves doing a very difficult job. If you ever want a challenging job try substitute teaching. Most TFA teachers have a college degree in some other field then education, as explained in the interview. The TFA workers get to teach and at the same time complete their student teaching year while in the classroom. In order to get a California teaching credential you must complete the fifth year. So to me the TFA people are taking jobs from people who have already completed their fifth year. A lot of districts won't even let you substitute teach unless you have that fifth year.
Hiring a TFA person is fools gold, first they aren't going to stick around, they have degrees in other fields where they can make much more money. It takes at least three to four years to become a proficient teacher. So after two years and with their best years ahead most TFA's leave the field an the district must start over hiring a new teacher.