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Thompson: What's TFA's Role In Mass Dismissals of Teachers?

Header4Blogger Bob Braun’s Newark: 700 Teachers May Be Laid Off, Many Replaced by TFA fed the firestorm over Superintendent Cami Anderson’s and Gov. Chris Christie’s plans for the Newark schools. Braun cited union sources who said that TFA alumni Anderson will try to fire about 700 teachers and “replace about half with new hires, including the TFA members.”

TFA’s Fatimah Burnam Watkins replied that her organization sought to place “special education, science and math [that] are hard to fill.” She condemned Braun’s report as “full of toxic inaccuracies.” 

So, how can we sort out the truth? Do we just need to wait and see whether Newark follows the pattern of mass closings of schools as in Philadelphia, New Orleans, and other districts? Do we have no way of determining in advance whether TFA is no more than a supplier of teachers who are scarce, or whether it is a prime prerequisite for the mass dismissal of teachers?

Edushuyster’s Internal Documents Reveal Charter Expansion, TFA Go Hand in Hand can help answer that question. A former union communications staffer, Jennifer Berkshire looked into the Detroit corporate reform effort and their investigation of what it takes to attract charter management organizations (CMOs) to take over schools (now staffed by union members.) She linked to Broad Foundation emails explaining what is required for recruiting CMOs. In three emails, the presence of TFA was cited as an important factor in taking over schools.

I doubt many people are shocked, shocked that market-driven reformers see TFA as a resource for their market-driven campaigns. At minimum, Watkins and her organization owe Braun an apology. Edushuyster’s reporting adds to the evidence that TFA owes an apology to veteran teachers whose hard-earned salaries and benefits have made them targets.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.    


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Minor typo? - shouldn't "...(now staffed by union members.)" be "...(NOT staffed by union members.)"?

A TFA alum provides some more context on the Newark situation WRT to TFA's role there: http://commonal.tumblr.com/post/78003721842/tfa-in-newark-act-as-if-the-facts-matter

Thanks for the link. As with its author, I'm becoming more and more upset with TFA. As I explained, if TFA is just placing its people in spots where there aren't qualified applicants. But when they close schools that are now union, and replace them with charters, that are mostly nonunion, that's different. I loved the author's metaphor, "In denying any responsibility in this set of affairs, TFA’s like the hapless kid who gets caught holding a little baggie for a “friend” and stammers, “I didn’t know what it was!” TFA regularly projects this kind of stupefying naivety. As it distances itself from district politics, though, it seems more to be employing the bad faith of the kid who hands off the bag."

I don't think that this is a good idea to replace so many educators especially when there is a limit of qualified applicants. It will be detriementa to students and there education to replace teachers in such short period of time. In the long run this will affect the students! Maybe this is something that should be re-evaluated before such a drastic move is made. Thanks

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