The federal government gives Teach for America a gift, thumbs its nose at professional teachers.

Teach for America does the exact
opposite of what we know to be best for our students. They take barely trained
non education types and plop them down in our neediest schools. There they are
supposed to stay for just two years before being replaced by another hobbyist
who thinks, I will give teaching a try.
Despite this they are very popular with
a lot of our leaders including Democrats who basically spit in the face of
professional educators when they endorse or support them. I find people like
Obama, Duncan and others just pay lip service to teachers. They want our votes
but aren’t really interested in helping and improving the profession.  
I know what you are thinking; you have
heard my rant before. Well I bring it up again because in the last minute bill
to save the nation from default the senate slipped in a provision to help Teach
for America. That’s right some senator thought it was okay to risk the fate of
the nation in order to help out TFA.

From the Washington Post:   On page
20 of this bill
passed by the House, it says:
SEC. 145. Subsection (b) of section 163 of
Public 5 Law 111-242
, as amended, is further amended by
striking 6 ”2013-2014” and inserting ”2015-2016”.

The law that is being amended includes the highly qualified provision, which
Teach for America and other school reformers had persuaded legislators to pass
a few years ago.

Under No Child Left Behind, all children are supposed to have highly
qualified teachers, school districts are supposed to let parents know which
teachers are not highly qualified, and these teachers are supposed to be
equitably distributed in schools. They aren’t. It turns out that teachers
still in training programs are disproportionately concentrated in schools
serving low-income students and students of color, the very children who need
the very best the teaching profession has to offer. The inequitable
distribution of these teachers also has a disproportionate impact on students
with disabilities.

It’s not entirely clear who got the provision into the debt deal
legislation, but a good bet is Sen. Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who is
chairman of the Senate’s education committee and who is a big Teach For America
supporter. So is the Obama administration, which has awarded tens of
millions of dollars to TFA over the past several years. Administration
officials have never offered a public explanation about why someone with five
weeks of training should be deemed “highly qualified.”

Congress first approved legislation allowing student teachers and others
with little training to be deemed “highly qualified” in late 2010, shortly after the 9th
Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the definition violated NCLB. In 2011 a
coalition of  more than 50 organizations — including education, civil
rights, disability, student, parent, and community groups – urged Obama in this
not to keep the definition, but it did anyway.

Once again Washington D.C. insults professional
teachers everywhere.

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