San Francisco says 'no more' to Teach for America | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 13, 2016

San Francisco says 'no more' to Teach for America

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 9:09 AM

click to enlarge NO MORE: San Francisco stops flow of inexperienced teachers into its classrooms.
  • NO MORE: San Francisco stops flow of inexperienced teachers into its classrooms.
Are we behind the curve again? Gov. Asa Hutchinson recently pushed $3 million in state money to hire Teach for America teachers to work in Arkansas public schools and wealthy Little Rock people led by Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter Hussman have contributed $3 million to hire Teach for America teachers in Little Rock School District schools (not charters, of course.)

It's all part of the Walton Family Foundation school agenda. This aspect of that agenda seems to hold that smart, inexperienced young people are better in classrooms — particularly the most needy — than experienced teachers with specific college training in education. For one thing, they cost less than veteran teachers. They also are not members of the Arkansas Education Association, as a rule. The teachers' union is an organization Republicans and rich business people tend to abhor.

Here's a news story from San Francisco, which is a bit more economically advanced than Arkansas. (Our idea of innovation is giving $100 million in tax money to a Chinese communist to build a pulp mill to convert our plentiful pine trees to a raw material to ship to China to make diapers.)

The taxpayer-supported Teach for America program, which supplies enthusiastic if inexperienced teachers to thousands of schools in lower-income areas across the country, has fallen out of favor in San Francisco.

The city’s school board made clear this week that staffing some of the city’s neediest classrooms with recent college graduates who are on a two-year teaching stint and with just five weeks of training is no longer acceptable.

... over the past several years, the organization has been condemned by critics, including teachers unions, as a crutch that fills the country’s neediest classrooms with inexperienced and cheap labor.

“Our goal as a district should be to get experienced, highly prepared, fully credentialed teachers with a track record of success into our high-needs, high-poverty schools,” said school board President Matt Haney. “For now, I believe that we should press pause on our contract with TFA, as we consider how best to address our own challenges of getting the best, most-prepared teachers where they are most needed.”
The program has many defenders. But burnout is an issue. After five years, only 17 percent of the program's teachers have stayed with the San Francisco district. The school "reformers" say no problem. There are more where they came from.

Arkansas, it would appear, knows a better way than San Francisco.

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