Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why Teach for America is Seductive to Mayors and Legislators and Destructive to Everyone Else

Teach for America offers states and municipalities the opportunity to subcontract their teaching to non-union workers, saving large expenses in pensions and health care. Such a policy saves saves money, as subcontracting usually does; but it destroys a section of the local middle class, drives down compensation for all workers, and has several extremely destructive consequences for the quality of schools; 1. It destroys the mentoring and relationship building that lifetime teachers provide. 2. It creates a revolving door teaching force that undermines the
role of schools as community institutions. 3. It reduces instruction to test prep since the 5 week training TFAers get makes raising test scores the highest priority and includes cookie cutter, "teacher proof" advice on class management that leaves little room for the creativity that great teachers employ.

No matter what TFA leaders say, its methods lead to the destruction of public education as we have known it in the United States, and the emergence of alternative model which makes the union teacher and the lifetime educator an endangered species. It's implementation will also sharply widen gaps between those in private schools and public schools, and between high income and moderate/ low income communities, in terms of creative thinking and exposure to the arts, reinforcing and intensifying the nation's status as one of the most economically stratified societies in the world.

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