I was incredibly disturbed to hear, from a friend in Detroit, that the local education authority plans to bring in 200 Teach for America Corps members after nearly a score of Detroit public schools are closed and hundreds of veteran teachers let go. This is the second city in the last two weeks- Montgomery Ala is the other- which is replacing fired veteran teachers with young teachers from TFA.
If past history is an indicator, you can bet that in Detroit, a far higher percentage of the teachers let go than the teachers TFA will be bringing in will be Black and Latino.
But that race and class dynamic only compounds the moral and political issue that we need to confront- namely that an organization founded with high ideals when there was a national teacher shortage has become an empire building octopus that now routinely sings contracts with municipalities to hire TFA teachers when those same municipalities close allegedly "failing schools" ( judged as failing entirely on graduation rates and test scores) and fires veteran teachers
To me,that behavior is the moral equivalent of strikebreaking. I have had many wonderful students join TFA over the past ten years, but none of them got jobs by having someone else fired
Now, the dynamics have changed. If TFA doesn't stop encouraging municipalities to fire veteran teachers to make room for its Corps members, perhaps it is time for Occupy groups, and other social justice advocates to start "Mic Checking" TFA recruiters when they come to University?
I pose this question to Occupy Groups, labor unions, and TFA Corps members past and present
Have TFA's current labor policies- which turn it into a source of "replacement labor" -placed it beyond the pale in the progressive community?