10 reasons we should get rid of Teach for America

From Education Week, by John Wilson

Reason Ten:  Paying a fee for a TFA
recruit is a misuse of taxpayer funds when state and federal governments
have given millions to this organization. The higher the fee the more a
district is exploited.

Reason Nine:  Allowing placement in
elementary school positions where there is no shortage of skilled
teachers is a ploy to assure that you will have no choice but to honor
the agreed upon number of TFA recruits.

Reason Eight:  Locking yourself into
a contract with no escape clause assures that your potential career
teachers who are more qualified cannot receive preference in hiring.

Reason Seven:  Contracting for
out-of-state TFA recruits undermines opportunities for local graduates
of teacher education programs and diminishes loyalty in the community.

Reason Six:  Once you commit to a
number of TFA positions, TFA owns those positions for the duration of
the contract. You lose the power to hire the best applicants for your

Reason Five: Follow the money trail.
While TFA is a non-profit, they operate like a for-profit with a large
network of staff to market the program. TFA staff are expected to
raise funds at the local and state level. In addition, the organization
has a huge financial commitment to branding and political/legislative

Reason Four:  The TFA business model
thrives on turnover, a dynamic that spells instability for a school
district. Good teachers hit their stride after 4-5 years, but less that
20% of TFA recruits stay that long.

Reason Three:  TFA is a short-term
response to long-term needs. Unwittingly, they undermine the political
will to invest in teachers and the profession. Districts entering into
contracts with TFA become co-conspirators.

Reason Two:  The limited preparation
that Teach For America provides to recruits does not adequately prepare
them for classroom management, understanding of curriculum, lesson plan
alignment, special education needs, parental involvement, teamwork, and
collaboration. Content knowledge without appropriate pedagogy will
never equal accomplished teaching.

Number One Reason:  Poor and
minority children need and deserve the most prepared and most
experienced teachers. To give them less is malpractice.

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