Bossier people, while Teach for America is not a documented threat right now, it could very much be so in the near future. Educate yourself and get involved!

Teach for America was founded in 1990 by Wendy Kopp as a program that strives to “eliminate educational inequity by enlisting high-achieving recent college graduates and professionals to teach” By replacing certified teachers with poorly trained young college grads in America’s toughest classrooms, TFA does the exact opposite of their mission.

Teach for America recruits young college graduates from elite universities to teach in America’s toughest urban and rural classrooms. Selected graduates undergo a 5-week classroom-training institute before they get placed into a classroom. TFA teachers don’t student teach. TFA teachers don’t have any training in the education field outside of their 5 weeks of institute. TFA teachers are not certified teachers, and do not have the years of training, student teaching, and professional development that even a brand new certified teacher has. TFA postulates that a fresh grad with 5 weeks of training can do what a certified teacher goes through years of training and practice at a comparable level.

More than 50% of all Teach for America teachers are out of teaching within two years of beginning the program. More than 80% of all Teach for America teachers are out of teaching within three years.  Just as these teachers begin to learn the craft of teaching, they leave for more lucrative job prospects. And this phenomenon is not by chance, it is by design.  TFA is billed as a resume booster for the ambitious graduate who wants that extra boost on his/her resume before applying for competitive law schools, medical schools, and job programs.  TFA defers student loans during participation in the program.

Caddo has lost more than 1,875 students since the 2009 school year. For every 5.5 students who have left the system, Caddo cut one certified teacher. A disproportionate number of these teachers were cut from special education programs. Caddo does not have a teacher shortage.

If Caddo were to enter into a contract with Teach for America, the contract would be binding. If a Reduction in Force (RIF) was ever necessary, Caddo couldn’t reduce the number of teachers it leases from Teach for America. It would have to lay off certified teachers in order to maintain the Teach for America contract. Furthermore, Teach for America charges districts a fee per teacher they lease. Teach for America claims the national average fee to school districts per teacher is $2500, although allegations exist that the number is much higher. Caddo would pay $2,500 per teacher to Teach for America on top of that new teacher’s salary and benefits. However, Caddo claims that it can’t give its certified teachers a raise, while eagerly welcoming TFA into the district? Sounds like a slap in the face to Caddo’s excellent teachers.

Kara Orange-Jones, BESE Board Member for District 2, is also the Executive Director for the New Orleans/Louisiana Delta region for Teach for America.  With BESE acting as the final authority on the Caddo partnership with the Recovery School District, this is incredibly concerning and represents a conflict of interest between Caddo’s interests and BESE’s interests.