SCUSD Observer

Sacramento, California

TFA redux

The “now is not the time” response to Teach For America‘s presentation in front of the school board Thursday night seemingly puts the program low on the list of current priorities.

But before we go, let’s read a letter written by a TFA graduate and brought before the board by a community member during Thursday night’s public comments. This young gentleman, who has roots in Sacramento, did his teaching stint in Charlotte public schools and is now pursuing a law degree at Cornell University:

The veteran teachers’ beef always seems to relate to the idea of young, idealistic, mercenaries coming in for two years and stealing jobs from established teachers. Especially with the current economy, their concerns might be legitimate. Thus, to assuage their concerns it is necessary to let them know that high-performing, hard-working teachers will always have jobs and that there are (likely) thousands of teachers that fit the mold in Sacramento that continue to provide the best possible education for their students. But, there are clearly still gaps that need to be filled and Teach for America is a resource that helps to fill them.

While, Teach For America is not a panacea, it is a step in the right direction. The organization’s involvement in each of its regions goes beyond the teachers in the classroom. It creates a necessary piece of the foundation that works toward prioritizing education and remedying some of the problems that face any failing educational system.

Most importantly, education is about the children. TFA teachers, even if only be a small margin, are better than other first year teachers and display a high level of commitment to their students and their schools. Additionally, Teach For America alumni that choose not to stay in the classroom (like myself) become advocates for education and understand the complexities and problems facing the public schools. The hope is that when TFA alumni go on to do other things, they remember their experiences and come back and use policy, law, etc… to continue to fight against educational inequity. That is a powerful resource for any city.

Education is in need of reform, and better teachers are an integral part of the solution. Bottom line: If Sacramento teachers truly want what is best for the children and the public education system, they will understand that this is not about stealing jobs from veteran teachers. Rather, it is an additional piece of the puzzle that can lead toward what should be the ultimate goal: that “one day all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.” (TFA’s motto).



Written by scusdobserver

March 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm

2 Responses

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  1. The thing is, even if you accept that premise, it's still an argument for "Not Now".


    March 30, 2010 at 12:07 am

  2. ' TFA teachers, even if only be a small margin, are better than other first year teachers'UM… according to whom?


    March 25, 2010 at 6:49 am

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