If you put this blog post up to your ear, I think you’ll hear the distant sound of a thousand Wisconsin teachers packing for Minnesota.
According to a Milwaukee J.Sentinel article, Walker’s latest state budget includes $1 million for Teach For America staffing.
TFA teachers get 5 weeks of summer training and are then sent to classrooms. Often TFA workers are destined for classrooms filled with challenging inner city or rural kids.
I’m not sure what the magic is about giving poor kids inexperienced teachers. Do young adults think that their experiences enjoying 3 nutritious meals a day, well-adjusted families, and suburban safety will be transmitted to poor children through a process much like osmosis? The Onion seems to also question this set-up here:
This is the first time that WI state tax dollars are going to TFA but Milwaukee has already welcomed TFA workers. M.J.S. says “Teach For America just completed its fourth school year in Milwaukee. It sent 50 new teachers to schools across the city this year, a number that will grow to 70 next year.”
Meanwhile, Minnesota is saying no to ANY new Teach For America teachers or state funding for TFA.
The full halt on TFA expansion in Minnesota is seen as a first in the nation:
“Minnesota’s powerful teachers union gave Teach for America a less-than-warm welcome four years ago, saying the program’s new college-grad-to-teacher program was an experiment not worth the risk.
But now, Education Minnesota has enough political clout with a DFL-led state government to push back in a real way, successfully urging Gov. Mark Dayton to veto money to help the group expand and a state teaching board to deny a crucial licensing waiver.
The back-to-back setbacks appear to be the first major rebuke nationwide for the vaunted education reform group that’s placed 10,000 teachers in troubled schools around the country, including 72 in the Twin Cities.”
It seems that Minnesota teacher unions haven’t been decimated by a right wing autocrat.
All teachers are well aware that where TFA workers come in on contract, the school district lays off experienced teachers. TFA workers reportedly leave in two years and go on to other opportunities like grad school.
I am puzzled about this as well. Wisconsin’s right wingers told me teaching is a fun ‘n’ easy summers-off job.
Read more about the TFA teacher system at Why I did TFA, and why you shouldn’t by Gary Rubinstein
Read more about the Minnesota situation at Teach for America effort stalls in Minnesota
Read more about WI’s TFA expansion at State budget action could propel Teach for America’s growth