Teach For America draws fire over school strike guidance

Educationdive | February 19, 2019

Long-standing tensions between traditional public schools and Teach for America (TFA) ramped up last week, when confusion over the nonprofit's guidance on a potential teacher strike had critics claiming the group opposes teachers’ unions, The Associated Press reported.In light of a possible strike in Oakland, California, next week, hundreds of TFA alumni called out the educator placement program for suggesting that if the 58 corps members in the Oakland district participate, they could lose thousands of dollars in AmeriCorps award money promised to them at the end of their two-year obligations, according to the AP. However, TFA spokesman Jack Hardy said there was a misunderstanding and that TFA was considering supplementing the AmeriCorps award if it were to be at stake.AmeriCorps, a federal service organization that bans strikes, said the decision on how to handle picket lines is up to TFA, which Hardy said doesn't take a position on union activity. But for one TFA participant in Oakland, the organization's neutral political stance makes him "frustrated ... when not participating in the strike is a political decision," he told the AP. Over the last few decades, Teach for America has come under some harsh criticism. The program is designed, it says, to address educational inequity by finding “outstanding leaders who commit to expanding educational opportunity, beginning with at least two years teaching in an under-resourced public school.” But some critics say the two-year commitment increases teacher turnover rates in schools that can least afford it. In a 2015 study, roughly 90% of TFA teachers reported they did not plan to stay in education long-term, and today, 34% of alumni serve as P-12 teachers. Additionally, as the AP writes, "critics say its existence contradicts the teaching establishment, which values experience and longevity."

Spotlight

Maker education is a new educational movement that sees potential in the process of ‘making’ at school. Maker education hopes to achieve the development of ‘maker-skills’ such as developing creativity, imagination, engineering and problem solving trough making in school.

Spotlight

Maker education is a new educational movement that sees potential in the process of ‘making’ at school. Maker education hopes to achieve the development of ‘maker-skills’ such as developing creativity, imagination, engineering and problem solving trough making in school.

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