4% of Chicago’s teachers sent packing just like that.
Why? Budget cuts, they said. They can’t afford to pay the teachers.
Swap experience out for cheap labour
At the same time as this happened, Chicago’s Board of Education voted to increase its payment to Teach For America (TFA) from $600,000 to nearly $1.6 million, and to add up to 325 new TFA recruits…
So let’s get this right. They lay off over 2000 qualified teachers and aim to replace them with guys who had 6 weeks’ training and then are sent into the classroom full time. These ‘teachers’ commit only to 1 or 2 years in the classroom and almost universally leave the classroom after that and go on to more highly paid work. Indeed TFA promotes itself as a stepping stone to other, far grander careers.
Nice to know they respect the job of teaching so much.
Lifelong teachers, people committed to honing and improving their teaching skills mean nothing to reformers like this. The kids mean nothing, either. Teaching is simply a way for new grads to improve their CVs and for reformers to make $$$$$.
How does the impact Aotearoa New Zealand?
Kiwis beware – we have Teach First NZ, a similar programme.
New grads get a 6 week programme and then are sent into schools to start work. And note they are only sent into low decile schools, not into schools where children of those promoting the programme are studying. Funny that.
The argument that TFA, TFNZ and other incarnations worldwide are needed to fill gaps where there are not enough teachers doesn’t wash. In NZ we have trained teachers searching for non-existent jobs. In Chicago and elsewhere they are laying of veteran teachers to take on TFAers.
It’s not about filling a gap. It’s about undermining teaching as a profession and crippling the unions so there is no collective voice.
A long and winding but well-planned path…
Kiwi education is similarly at the hands of those determined to undermine our schools and teachers at every turn.
It’s only a matter of time until this is happening here, too. Indeed we are on track already.
Kiwis need to be aware that this is the goal of reforms that start slowly and creep, creep, creep until before you know it the unions are smashed, teachers are being laid off and replaced with short-term, expendable staff, and the reformers move in with their testing and money-making and our children have ceased to be students but have become a commodity.
It sounds dramatic, even fanciful, but if you spend even an hour looking at what is happening in the USA and England, you will see, this is a well trodden and well-planned path.
We must be committed to stopping it in its tracks before it’s too late.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/oct/29/social-mobility-teach-first-programme (read the comments below, too)
And the students are not always impressed, either…