TFA MYTHS and REALITIES.

MYTHS AND REALITIES:

WHY TEACH FOR AMERICA MUST CHANGE OR GO QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT
By David Greene

MYTH:
TEACH FOR AMERICA describes itself as a “national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors and career interests who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity.”

REALITY:
“TFA moves idealistic young folks into low-income schools with too little training when those kids need the most expert teachers, small classes, wrap-around services, and teachers who plan to stay from the beginning for the long haul as professional educators.” (IRA SHOR)

MYTH:
TFA states 67% of its corps members stay in education after 2 years.

REALITY:
Of that 67% who “stay in education”, only 52% teach k-12. Of that 52%, only 58 % teach in PUBLIC SCHOOLS. That equates to @ 20% actually teaching in public schools after their two years are completed.

MYTH:
TFA produces educators

REALITY:
Using TFA’S own data it turns out that:
@65% of those educators go on to work for TFA, incredibly become some level of district or school leader after only 2 years of teaching, join other policy groups like educators 4 excellence, or students first, or become district or CHARTER MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION administrators. These are not exactly teaching positions.

In addition, TFA spends significant organizational time, energy and money on its alumni… Like MICHELLE RHEE. They are the source of the organization’s true political lobbying power. TFA puts them in positions of power. LEADERSHIP FOR EDUCATIONAL EQUITY (LEE) is a 501(c) (4) nonprofit organization that was launched in 2007 to inspire, train and support TEACH FOR AMERICA ALUMNI AND CORPS MEMBERS to pursue public leadership by providing or connecting them to high impact volunteer and career opportunities in politics, policy, advocacy, and elected office.

MYTH:
TEACH FOR AMERICA boasts about its impact, noting on its webpage: “[O] UR CORPS MEMBERS AND ALUMNI work relentlessly to increase academic achievement.”

REALITY:
in a “MATHEMATICA” STUDY touted by TFA, THE STUDENTS OF CORPS MEMBERS remained far below their national peers and made only marginal gains.” The study, using the IOWA TEST OF BASIC SKILLS, also showed that neither the TFA GROUP NOR THE CONTROL GROUP…OTHER UNCERTIFIED TEACHERS… EVEN BEGAN TO CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP.

According to DR. PHILLIP KOVACS, (UNIV. ALABAMA HUNTSVILLE) peer reviewed research over the past 10 years continually points out the fact that: “STUDENTS OF TFA TEACHERS did not perform significantly different from students of other under-certified teachers, and that students of certified teachers out-performed students of teachers who were under-certified.”

MYTH:
TFA IS A POOR NOT FOR PROFIT ORGANIZATION STRUGGLING TO MAINTAIN ITS BUDGET TO SUPPORT PUBLIC EDUCATION

REALITY:
TFA HAS GROWN RAPIDLY SINCE 1990, WITH APPROXIAMATELY 10,000 CORPS MEMBERS REACHING MORE THAN 500,000 STUDENTS. its budget, funded by a mix of public and private sources, now is over $300 MILLION, including a recent $50 million grant garnered from the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.

TFA IS SUPPORTED FINANCIALLY BY FOUNDATIONS LIKE ELI BROAD’S, OR THE WALTON FAMILY FOUNDATION, BASED ON THE PHILANTHROPIC BELIEFS OF WAL-MART FOUNDER SAM WALTON. It is the SINGLE LARGEST CONTRIBUTOR TO TEACH FOR AMERICA.

WITHIN THE WORLD OF EDUCATION FOUNDATIONS, WALTON IS SYNONYMOUS WITH PRIVATIZATION AND THE PROMOTION OF VOUCHERS FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS.

Indeed, the upcoming film, “WON’T BACK DOWN” and the recently held “TEACHER’S ROCK” concert WALMART is sponsoring to benefit TFA is a typical PR MOVE TO PERPETUATE THE MYTH THAT TFA AND PARENT TRIGGER LAWS ARE REFORMING PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR THE BETTER.

THANKS TO MASSIVE GRANTS AND PAYMENTS FROM SCHOOL DISTRICTS AROUND THE COUNTRY, TFA has can afford a massive public relations campaign that includes films, CONCERTS, AND DIRECTLY LOBBYING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. WE NEED TO OUT DO THAT LOBBYING EFFORT.

MYTH:
TFA SUPPORTS EXPERIENCED TEACHERS AND ONLY CONTRACTS TO FILL OTHERWISE UNFILLABLE POSITIONS

REALITY:
TFA consistently contracts with school districts around the country to replace experienced teachers. TFA’S CURRENT LABOR POLICIES HAVE TURNED IT INTO A SOURCE OF “REPLACEMENT LABOR”.

IN WASHINGTON, D.C., FORMER TFA CORPS MEMBER AND SCHOOLS CHANCELLOR MICHELLE RHEE LAID OFF 229 TEACHERS, BUT ONLY SIX OF THE 170 TFA TEACHERS IN THE SYSTEM.

BOSTON PLANNED TO LAY OFF 20 VETERAN TEACHERS AND REPLACE THEM WITH TFA CORPS MEMBERS UNTIL THE UNION FILED A COMPLAINT, ACCORDING TO AN ARTICLE IN USA TODAY.

THE CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG SCHOOL DISTRICT LAID OFF HUNDREDS OF VETERAN TEACHERS BUT SPARED 100 TFA CMS.

DALLAS BROUGHT IN NEARLY 100 NEW TFA CMS, EVEN THOUGH THE DISTRICT HAD LAID OFF 350 TEACHERS IN THE 2008-09 SCHOOL YEAR.

HUNTSVILLE ALABAMA, even with research showing its flaws, CONTRACTED WITH TFA VIA A $1.7 MILLION CONTRACT TO PROVIDE 170 TEACHERS OVER THE NEXT FOUR YEARS.

IN DETROIT, 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. TFA WANTS TO START ALL TFA SCHOOLS TO REPLACE THOSE SCHOOLS.

MONTGOMERY ALA Is replacing fired veteran teachers with young teachers from TFA. THIS IS BUT A SHORT LIST.