I read an interesting blog post by Plunderbund all about Teach for America in Ohio. Cleveland pays $9,000 (for two years) in addition to regular salaries and benefits to hire TFA. In other places, like Memphis and Pittsburg, Bill Gates foots the initial bill to TFA, usually about $5,000 per teacher, and then the school districts take over and pay TFA salaries and benefits. While cities sign on to TFA, claiming they need the group to fill empty teaching slots, most of us have watched real teachers bounced when their school closes.
What’s interesting, in Cleveland, is that the Tea Party, who, for the most part, detest Common Core State Standards, seemed to have had a lot to do with bringing TFA to Ohio. While they want to see less union and college degreed educators, they dislike the CC standards that regiment curriculum. Since Bill Gates has a heavy hand in both TFA and Common Core State Standards, I find that interesting.
For one thing, teacher educators who study education come to the job with more independent ideas as to how and what to teach. They are less likely to enjoy being dictated to when it comes to high-stakes standards, testing, and Common Core.
Teach for America, by contrast, who, with no student teaching experience and little understanding surrounding the dynamics of classroom instruction and child development, often like more Direct Instruction approaches. They want to follow scripts. It makes it easier to teach large groups of students without individualization. I’ve noticed that the biggest cheerleaders for CCSS are TFA, or those who learned teaching on the fast-track.
I think it is important to realize the connections between these two groups. You can’t really dislike Common Core State Standards and embrace Teach for America. They are both out of the same reform playbook.
And if you decide you better like real teachers while you complain about the Common Core, maybe you should put up a little fight for the pensions of real retired teachers in Chicago! From Fred Klonsky’s blog (Nov. 29), http://preaprez.wordpress.com/: “Among those who will lose what was promised to them will be retired teachers, half of whom make less than $50,000 a year with no Social Security, thousands with no Medicare coverage – even after teaching for over 35 years.”
There is nothing that says Thanksgiving more than realizing you might be on the verge of losing your pension. How does this sort of treatment encourage anyone to go into teaching as a career?
Look…if you want great schools, you should fight for great teachers. And the truth is you will never get great teachers until you demand they study and learn about how to effectively teach. Great teachers don’t need Common Core State Standards, but they do deserve to be treated fairly.
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