Teach for America to Replace Certified Teachers

From Teach for America to the KIPP charter schools to instructional innovations at colleges and universities, we have proven strategies ready to go to scale. — Secretary of Education Arne Ducan at the 91st Annual Meeting of the American Council on Education, February 9, 2009

According to a story by Ann Doss Helms appearing in the May. 13 Charlotte Observer, “Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will bring in 100 new Teach For America cadets, who lack teaching experience and credentials, as the district lays off experienced teachers next school year.”  The superintendent Peter Gorman said he believes it’s the best move for kids: “They would be bumping a teacher who’s below standard.”  Mary McCray, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators said some teachers are losing jobs because their function has been cut, not because they’re poor performers.

Helms writes: “More than 400 classroom teachers will get layoff notices the week of May 25, Gorman said. Teachers and other employees will be called back if the state, federal or county budget picture for 2009-10 improves.”  The districts pays TFA recruits the same as other starting teachers: $34,385 a year.

Helms: “The first batch of Charlotte recruits arrived in 2004; this year CMS has more than 200. The C.D. Spangler Foundation donated $4 million to expand the Charlotte program this school year and next.”  TFA applications surged this year, “with jobs getting scarce in other fields.”

She writes:

A Detroit teachers’ union official was quoted widely as calling Teach for America recruits “educational mercenaries” who are using public schools “as a pit stop on their way to becoming corporate executives.”

But the national corps is growing, with five to six new regions signing on for 2009-10, said regional communication director Emily DelPino. It’s not clear yet whether any districts that have been working with the group will decline new recruits next year, she said; most districts are in the same budget limbo as CMS, waiting to see how bad things will be and how much federal stimulus money will help.

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