Less than 8% of TFA teachers stayed 4 years in Jacksonville. Why do we want to invest 11 million dollars to bring more to town?
This is from last year, but it shows what a disaster Teach for America has been and I can't help but wonder why the district wants to put 11 million dollars into it. -cpg
Proponents of Teach for America like to point to a few studies all with methodological issues, all with small sample sizes and all using self-serving data as proof that it is a good program.
I don't know if they are trying to convince themselves or us.
Don't be fooled friends; the truth is Teach for America has a small role to play as a supplement to education but not the belle-of-the-ball first in line position it has been given.
Teach for America tells the world experience and training doesn't matter as it takes non-teachers, puts them through a brief summer class and then places them in the nation's most struggling schools.
What the program ignores is that teachers don't usually hit the ground running; it takes years of experience and training before they hit their stride, but before that happens the vast majority of Teach for America alumni have left the classroom.
Look at Jacksonville
In 2008, 51 arrived and only four remain.
Only 10 of 41 from the 2009 class continue to teach here.
Jacksonville's own independent audit criticized the district for having too many rookie teachers in our struggling schools,.
Well, friends, Teach for America's business model is to take non-college of education rookie teachers and put them in our struggling schools.
Teach for America does the antithesis of what we know to be best for our children, but for some reason, the district has contracted with them to bring in 100 more for the next three years.
If that doesn't convince you, think about the economics.
The district pays a finder's fee for each Teach for America recruit, and it shouldn't matter if this comes from a grant or
Then schools routinely spend thousands of dollars to train novice teachers, and the vast amount of this money is wasted on Teach for America teachers because so few stay around.
Better uses of dollars
Our limited resources should be spent on teachers who have a chance of developing into veterans who will spend a lifetime educating our children not on people looking for a diversion or an adventure.
Finally, there are local teachers and college of education graduates who can't find positions; it is them rather than the hobbyists that we should be looking to put in our classrooms. Then after we have exhausted all efforts, if there are still openings, that is when we should ask for a few recruits.
There are undoubtedly great Teach for America teachers and college of education graduates who have made the wrong career choice. It boils down to what gives the county's children the best chance to be successful and what makes sense economically.