A group of parents, teachers, and scholars wrote a petition to the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is hiring Teach for America to supply inexperienced teachers for students with disabilities. It is astonishing that the board would want to place young college graduates into classrooms with students who need well-trained teachers, not youngsters with five weeks of training.
Cancel the contract that pays TFA to recruit untrained interns to teach our vulnerable special education students. Identify reputable programs to recruit graduates and student teachers who are committed to the teaching profession, to our schools and our students.
The long version–
This is to urge the LAUSD school board to immediately rescind its contract with TFA for special education services. Our most vulnerable students deserve the most qualified professionals possible.
Los Angeles Unified School District ratified a contract with Teach For America to provide trainees to fill 25 teaching positions in special education at its November 10, 2015 board meeting. There was no debate on the matter; it was hidden in the consent calendar with attachments of attachments buried deep.
While Board member Dr. George McKenna raised important questions about TFA’s retention rate and its commitment to our students, the answers he was provided were misleading because they rely on unchecked data from TFA itself, according to a report in American Prospect (1/5/15). The truth is 87% of TFA recruits plan to leave teaching after their internships end, according to a recent article in Bloomberg News (3/9/15). LAUSD was only the most recent stop by TFA on a statewide campaign over the last few months making the same claims about the need for special ed TFAers. Most school districts from Chula Vista to Santa Ana resisted the sales job after public outcry. But those districts held actual discussions about the controversial contracts with TFA.
LAUSD senior staff needs to go back to the drawing board to create partnerships with reputable teaching programs to recruit teachers who will be qualified on Day 1 and are likely to remain committed to the teaching profession.
TFA is one of the tools that Eli Broad is using to attack our schools and undermine the very fabric of the public school system in Los Angeles (his foundation is a top funder of TFA). Our elected leaders just endorsed that by approving this contract. It should be rescinded immediately.
We are a coalition of public education advocates that includes:
Tina Andres, Santa Ana Unified teacher and special education parent
Jameson Brewer, PhD, former TFA
Anthony Cody, co-founder/board member Network for Public Education
Paul Markowitz, teacher and principal, retired
Josh Leibner, National Board Certified Teacher
Ellen Lubic, Joining Forces for Education
Carl Petersen, Change the LAUSD
Betty Jo Ravitz, former teacher and Director of Music
Sari Rynew, retired teacher
Robert Skeels, Juris Doctor Candidate and public education advocate
Julian Vasquez Heilig, PhD, Cloaking Inequity
Karen Wolfe, PSconnect
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.