The open line: Plus, death of a football star and a dissenting opinion on Teach for America | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The open line: Plus, death of a football star and a dissenting opinion on Teach for America

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 4:45 PM

Here's the open line and today's video. Plus:

* NORTH LITTLE ROCK'S TENPENNY DIES IN WRECK: The sports world has buzzed today about the death of Altee Tenpenny, a 2013 graduate of North Little Rock High and a standout football player, in a one-car crash Tuesday in Mississippi. He played for a time at Alabama and had been suspended Sunday from the Nicholls State football team in Louisiana following arrest for discharging a firearm. Said the School District:

The North Little Rock School District is deeply saddened by the passing of Altee Tenpenny. The death of any young person, especially one with such talent and ambition, is tragic. A 2013 graduate of North Little Rock High School, Altee was a standout football player and human being. His beautiful smile and charismatic personality will be sorely missed. 

* HOLD YOUR APPLAUSE FOR TEACH FOR AMERICA: Many in the Billionaire Boys Club known as the school reform movement think Teach for America is the answer for lagging schools. Oust veteran teachers, some with union contracts! What do they know? Instead, recruiit brainy, idealistics young Ivy Leaguers who'll burn themselves to a frazzle inspiring the downtrodden before they wear out. Not to worry. There's fresh meat where they came from.

Nothing is ever pure black and white. And what you don't hear, thanks to the billionaires' press capability, is some of the down side on Teach for America. Clip and save this op-ed by a former Teach for America  participant when the cheerleaders ride into Little Rock. Writes T. Jameson Brewer, a doctoral candidate in Illinois:

Not only is TFA notoriously unwilling to listen to outside or internal critics (one former TFA manager decried its “inability and unwillingness to honestly address valid criticism” in The Washington Post). The organization has also spent millions of dollars on a press shop built to promote its brand while aggressively and proactively discrediting critiques.

This is bad for the organization, and it’s bad for students. TFA has real problems — its teachers are largely unprepared and fare no better than regular educators. It has a high drop-out rate, and the number of applicants has plummeted. Additionally, TFA sends its volunteer teachers to school districts in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, places now facing teacher layoffs and hiring freezes. Some school districts have even rescinded contracts with TFA, citing teachers’ lack of preparation and low retention rates.

Alum Catherine Michna, now a professor of education at Tulane, has said that she won’t write recommendation letters for students who want to join the program. “TFA members do not work in service of public education,” she wrote in Slate. “They work in service of a corporate reform agenda that rids communities of veteran teachers, privatizes public schools, and forces a corporatized, data-driven culture upon unique low-income communities with unique dynamics and unique challenges.”

TFA has the resources and the clout to address these concerns. Instead, it has chosen to ignore its dissenters. The organization is stuck, and it shows few signs of evolution.

Tags: , , , ,

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (32)

Showing 1-32 of 32

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-32 of 32

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • Little Rock housing study finds linkage between respiratory-related hospital stays and property code violations

    People hospitalized for a respiratory-related illness at UAMS were twice as likely to rent a property that at some point has been issued a mold-related violation notice from Little Rock's Code Enforcement Division when compared to a control population adjusted for demographic differences.
    • May 2, 2018
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation