Top 10 Reasons Not to Contract with TFA

EdWeek publishes the top 10 reasons not to contract with Teacher for America (TFA)

Reason Ten: Paying a fee for a TFA recruit is a misuse of taxpayer funds when state and federal governments have given millions to this organization. The higher the fee the more a district is exploited.

Reason Nine: Allowing placement in elementary school positions where there is no shortage of skilled teachers is a ploy to assure that you will have no choice but to honor the agreed upon number of TFA recruits.

Reason Eight: Locking yourself into a contract with no escape clause assures that your potential career teachers who are more qualified cannot receive preference in hiring.

Reason Seven: Contracting for out-of-state TFA recruits undermines opportunities for local graduates of teacher education programs and diminishes loyalty in the community.

Reason Six: Once you commit to a number of TFA positions, TFA owns those positions for the duration of the contract. You lose the power to hire the best applicants for your district.

Reason Five: Follow the money trail. While TFA is a non-profit, they operate like a for-profit with a large network of staff to market the program. TFA staff are expected to raise funds at the local and state level. In addition, the organization has a huge financial commitment to branding and political/legislative operations.

Reason Four: The TFA business model thrives on turnover, a dynamic that spells instability for a school district. Good teachers hit their stride after 4-5 years, but less that 20% of TFA recruits stay that long.

Reason Three: TFA is a short-term response to long-term needs. Unwittingly, they undermine the political will to invest in teachers and the profession. Districts entering into contracts with TFA become co-conspirators.

Reason Two: The limited preparation that Teach For America provides to recruits does not adequately prepare them for classroom management, understanding of curriculum, lesson plan alignment, special education needs, parental involvement, teamwork, and collaboration. Content knowledge without appropriate pedagogy will never equal accomplished teaching.

Number One Reason: Poor and minority children need and deserve the most prepared and most experienced teachers. To give them less is malpractice.

A reasonable list.