The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote on Friday that Teach for America will receive more than $2 million to bring their corps members to Northeast Ohio schools next fall.  The funding will come from the ClevelandGeorge GundNord and Stocker foundations, along with a contribution from the Lennon Trust, and will pay for the national program to recruit and train college graduates who majored in subjects other than education and help them move to the area.

According to Teach for America vice president Mike Wang who is working to bring the program to the region, the money will help bring at least 30 teachers to school districts and charter schools in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties.

We exposed the flawed logic behind the Governor’s and GOP’s push to bring Teach for America to Ohio back in March, and despite the passage of laws enabling the program to expand to Ohio, neither the facts nor our stance have changed:

House Bill 21 & Senate Bill 81 lower the quality of teaching for future children by lowering these current standards for teacher preparation. Teach for America is touted as bringing the best and the brightest to the classroom, but we have always done so in Ohio through existing state law requiring universities to provide rigorous teacher preparation programs.

House Bill 21 & Senate Bill 81 would require the Ohio Department of Education to issue a Resident Educator license to all TFA participants, including those who have never set foot in an Ohio classroom.

In that particular post, we only addressed the erroneous thinking of the legislators who claimed the law was necessary from an educational reform perspective.  We didn’t speak to the flawed economics that prop up the Teach for America program and undermine any stated rationale for certifying the program in Ohio.

While Teach for America only requires 50 hours of cooperative teaching during a summer school program, Ohio state law requires that prospective teachers complete a minimum of 460 hours of field experience, including 12 weeks of teaching, with typically 6 of those weeks being full days of independent instruction, under the supervision of a university professor. These programs come at a huge price to students who make significant personal and financial investments in pursuing a career in the field of education at Ohio’s universities.

Did we mention the $4,000-$5,000 “finder’s fee” that school districts pay to Teach for America for every corps member hired?

Let’s do some quick calculations about this report of TFA’s emergence in NE Ohio.

  • Private funds totaling $2 million
  • Hiring at least 30 TFA members [we'll generously round it to 40]

$2,000,000 / 40 members = $50,000 per TFA corps member brought to Ohio.  That’s right around the average salary of an existing teacher in Ohio and well above the average starting salary.  But this money isn’t for those new teachers.  Instead, this money goes directly to TFA to cover the brief summer training session and mentoring.

Okay, that’s not true, the funding doesn’t cover all of the training and mentoring.

Check out this final sentence of the Plain Dealer article that is crucial in understanding the economics of the TFA program:

The grants will not cover teacher salaries, which will be paid by the schools. Schools will also contribute toward the training.

That’s right, the $50,000 per member isn’t even enough to cover the five-week training.  Schools will have to chip in for that, too. And the “education reformers,” especially those in Ohio’s legislature and their private donors, are griping amount providing adequate funding to schools?  And here we have foundations doling out checks to pay for training that costs $10,000 per person per week?  Does anyone want to guess what the Plain Dealer or Dispatch would write if a public school district sent a group of teachers to a five-week summer institute at a cost of $50,000 each?

Even more, can you imagine the type of professional development a teacher could receive if a district was allocated $50,000 per year?  School districts would drool over even 1/10th of that amount if they were able to involve their career educators in such development work.

But alas, the GOP and private corporations have the misguided belief that we’re all somehow better off throwing enormous sums of money at temporary educators instead of making an investment in individuals who have dedicated their lives to teaching children.  Individuals who have spent years in both college and PK-12 classrooms learning how to become professionals in an underappreciated career field.  Individuals who have willingly committed to give up their evenings and weekends forever, and have spent an incalculable amount of their personal income on their students knowing they will never be submitting an expense report to their boss for reimbursement.

No, let’s just write a check to a large organization to find short-term educational hitmen, then let that organization charge schools an additional fee on top of that amount.  The GOP wouldn’t DREAM of shelling out $55,000 for a top graduate from an accredited university’s college of education, but if they’ve got middle-of-the-pack credentials in some other field of study (minimum 2.5 GPA – no slackers!), open up the pocketbook, because the money is begging to be spent.  Throw that money at a five-week summer class with minimal student exposure on the basics of being in a classroom, then charge the districts an extra fee for the right to put the graduate of that 5-week training, now a “licensed teacher,” in front of a room full of high-need students and cross your fingers that they last more than a week.

That’s reality.

In a nutshell, the entire situation with TFA in Ohio demonstrates the lack of respect that is given the teaching profession in our country.  Whether we are talking about a young adult exploring the career of teaching through a high school program or a teacher with 30+ years of experiencing in meeting the needs of hundreds of unique children, TFA supporters don’t care — they think you’re not worthy.

And to revisit some basic math that is too complicated for Governor Kasich and the GOP leadership, using the TFA-type of privately funding process to replace classically-trained teachers will result in a dramatic leap in required educational funding.  Given that Ohio currently replaces approximately 4,000 teachers annually, the TFA price structure (2-year commitments = $27,500 per year) would require an additional $11 million per year.  Once the 2-years-and-out hired guns get embedded in the process and begin rolling out of their jobs on a more regular basis then the costs would begin growing every year, with absolutely ZERO effect on salaries and no reduction to other district expenses.

Maybe such extreme numbers should be considered hyperbole.  But why would the Governor speak so highly of a program, and why would foundations pay an additional $55,000 per teacher for a program if they didn’t want it to have amazing success?  If this program, as the Governor has famously claimed, will bring in outsiders to save our children, wouldn’t that at least imply a commitment to funding such a process and using the model to reform teaching and teacher education in Ohio?

Kasich said Teach For America participants are “the cavalry.”

“They’re going to ride on white horses with white hats into our schools and be able to interject a tremendous amount of enthusiasm, talent, capability and real-world understanding,” the governor said.

(Columbus Dispatch, April 27, 2011)

For $2 million, Ohio’s children deserve more than 40 white hats and 40 white horses.  Ohio’s children deserve well-prepared teachers who have committed their lives to becoming professional educators.

America needs to start supporting legitimate teacher education programs that are researching innovative practices and working to develop future teachers by working with career educators with years of practical classroom experience.  If public schools received anywhere near the same level of support and latitude that politically-favored programs do, we could experience sustainable long-term improvements instead of the endless stream of drive-by initiatives that only serve to bind schools in a perpetual state of tumultuous transformation.

 

 

 

Evangelize!
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  • Troysteelerfan

    This stuff just burns my as* – I am a veteran of 19 years in the classroom – I have hosted 6 student teachers over my 19 years – and i can honestly say that very few of them are completely ready after 4 years + of college and student teacher – 5 weeks to get ready for the classroom is a flipping joke – no way these people survive in a classroom and now way the students in those rooms get a good education – I don’t care how smart someone is … for example in math – unless they can “TEACH” it won’t matter …the public will figure this out sooner or later

  • Anonymous

    I mean what can you say? Really how f****ed is this?

    $50,000 is more than what most first year teachers make. Teachers that have graduate degrees, certifications and life experiences that some 20 year old surely does not have.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carrie-Preston/100000765994211 Carrie Preston

    And so the plan to continue to tear apart and tear up public schools begin. If you are a “real” teacher with a “real” degree in education you aren’t worth shit– if you are a college grad who can’t find a job in your field and need to pay off your student loans you are public  school systems saviors on the white horse with a white hat? Wait we already have White Hat saviors in Ohio and you all know how well that is going!!!!

  • http://ohio15th.blogspot.com StubbornLiberal

    This is absolutely incredible. It is a waste of money and time.  John Kasich would only teach at Ohio State by being overpaid and getting an assistant for one or two lectures per month, and yet he is willing to send untrained, unqualified, unprepared young people into schools.  Any building that gets these Teach for America candidates needs to document the experiences and events that occur in the classroom and in the building (dates and time of incident, names, etc).  Then they need to write about it, publish it, speak to groups of teachers and parents about events, and testify at state hearings about the events.  Once again we see Kasich favoring rich foundations and corporations instead of regular Ohioans. There was no money for school children, but if you are a friend/supporter of the right wing agenda, Kasich will find a method to get you money.  The worst part of this is that trained, experienced, qualified teachers will have to clean up the mess.

  • Mcpierogipazza

    I looked into this program when I lived in NYC. It sounded like a recipe for insanity. Several weeks of light summer school training then being thrust into a classroom in a “high needs” school in the South Bronx or Central Brooklyn. The lack of respect for teaching is so evident when people think it can be done with less training than most McDonald’s managers probably get.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nate.stickney Nathantagonist Bad-guy Stickne

    Teach for America would be an incredible co-teaching opportunity.  It would be a great way to have talented young people (without an incredible story, you’re not going to get accepted below a 3.0, and I’ve heard it’s a very competitive process at that) into classrooms across the country.  They don’t necessarily have the burden of all the teaching, but it can’t be a bad thing to have an intelligent, well-spoken, college-educated young person in the class room.  It’s a great way to combat increased class sizes, and the TfA candidates could be utilized as the school saw fit.  

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  • Anonymous

    A 3.0 GPA is pretty much slightly above average at best, so I wouldn’t necessarily call TFA participants “talented.”

    As a full-time volunteer aged 55, I taught at a high school in eastern Kentucky with two young men who fit the description of TFA recruits.  Neither was an effective teacher in any respect, the students hated them, and worst, everything was “all about me, me, me” for them.

    TFA has a place in poor, isolated rural school districts, but not in a populous urban region with many well-regarded universities graduating education majors each year, many who cannot find teaching jobs in that area.

  • Xx

    This method didn’t when Arthur Anderson did it with IT and it won’t work for schools.   Has shown in this post, it drives up costs and the results, like many AA projects, will be poor performance and failure.

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  • Dmoore2222

    My question is what district would be foolish enough to accept such a loopy proposal? If they’re going to have to pay the salary and training costs anyway, why wouldn’t they just hire a licensed teacher like they normally do  (minus the white hat and horse, of course), and for less money?

    This is republican posturing. They hope to instill fear in the traditional education establishment (that kicked their ass over Issue 2, by the way) that Ohio public education is going to have more of these types “reforms” and they’ll be left out in the cold. More miscalculation from the amateurs in the Kasich regime.

    He’res what they’ll NEVER understand: Most voters like their schools and the teachers in them. They don’t want outsiders intervening or experimenting with their children. What they have a problem with is the funding system, the never ending stream of local levies. So they’re sure not going to look at the cost of this TFA nonsense as any kind of solution. They’ll see it as the waste of money that it is. Yes, Johnny Boy. Despite your disdain for the average guy, he can at least add.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carrie-Preston/100000765994211 Carrie Preston

    What you don’t understand is that they will not be glorified class room assistants let alone a co-teacher. No school has the funds for that let alone pay what they are going to have to pay out for TFA. Also the most intellegent of people often do not understand how to make others understand how to do or learn things because they just naturally understand and their mode of learning is not in mesh with our children who come from disadvataged areas. Their are many factors in how a person learns. This is something that is not even being addressed, but needs to be. One of the most common mistakes is that people think innner city children learn the same way as white suberbia. sorry wrong. Not true. Nada. And what is this about a 3.0 to be accepted. To get in the college of education I had to have a 3.0 as did most of my collegues. So your GPA has nothing to do with it. Your education in the teaching proffession where you have many hours of in service training does and 5 weeks does not cut it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carrie-Preston/100000765994211 Carrie Preston

    They don’t even belong in isolated rural school districts. They will have the same problems of not being able to do that job any better. These areas do not have that difficult of a time finding teachers. There are so many with a teaching degree – young graduates who are having a hard time finding a job because school districts are on the round of laying teachers off again and not hiring in many new teachers that these qualified teachers will go anywhere to work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carrie-Preston/100000765994211 Carrie Preston

    They don’t even belong in isolated rural school districts. They will have the same problems of not being able to do that job any better. These areas do not have that difficult of a time finding teachers. There are so many with a teaching degree – young graduates who are having a hard time finding a job because school districts are on the round of laying teachers off again and not hiring in many new teachers that these qualified teachers will go anywhere to work.

  • http://www.plunderbund.com Eric

    You can always email crew AT plunderbund.com to reach us all.  Note:  replace AT with @.

  • http://www.plunderbund.com Eric

    We reserve the right to publish what comments we want and delete others we find off-topic, objectionable, spam, or otherwise not worthy of our great audience.  It’s our platform.  Thanks for playing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740014081 Paula Garfield

    It never seems to amaze me how our Governor creates jobs by replacing highly qualified teachers with emporary, “outsourcing,” people with almost poverty pay to educate our children. Where is here American Dream? How can Ohio allow his to happen? Before he community realizes what has happened, it’s too late..We must coninue to fight for our children, ourcommunities..n vote these corrupt theives out! They are stealing our children/communities futures..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740014081 Paula Garfield

    It never seems to amaze me how our Governor creates jobs by replacing highly qualified teachers with emporary, “outsourcing,” people with almost poverty pay to educate our children. Where is here American Dream? How can Ohio allow his to happen? Before he community realizes what has happened, it’s too late..We must coninue to fight for our children, ourcommunities..n vote these corrupt theives out! They are stealing our children/communities futures..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740014081 Paula Garfield

    laundering money….stealing..in the worst way..our childrens expense…now I see y they r banning abortions…more kids..more money..turning rape, etc..into a business by making victims raise children by no choice . This is outrageous

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740014081 Paula Garfield

    laundering money….stealing..in the worst way..our childrens expense…now I see y they r banning abortions…more kids..more money..turning rape, etc..into a business by making victims raise children by no choice . This is outrageous

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740014081 Paula Garfield

    wtf? googling it now thanks..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740014081 Paula Garfield

    wtf? googling it now thanks..

  • Anonymous

    Don’t fret, Fred.  It’s not just TFA.  We try to be equally critical of any effort that attempts to privatize public education through the hypocritical redirection of funding in amounts that are vastly greater than anything the organization would ever consider committing to the improvement of existing public school systems.  When these programs have either NO documented success or, like TFA (the small percentage that fulfill their 2-year commitment), results that are at their highest on par with the public schools they are alleging they wish to reform, then every citizen should be questioning why such programs are being espoused by politicians and excessively funded by private foundations.

  • Anonymous

    What next, a 5-week summer camp to teach politicians how to perform open-heart surgery?  These clowns must work for Barnum and Bailey!

  • Blangelue

    Then you have the teachers who can’t find jobs or don’t have the luxury of relocating to another part of the state. What about those people? I have a teaching license and a degree but I’m not teaching.

  • http://twitter.com/MicheleWinship Michele Winship

    And please tell me which school districts will be hiring all these “talented” young people when most districts have been so crippled by state budget cuts and failed levies (with no “fix” for school funding on the horizon) they have to let their veteran teachers go just to make ends meet?  Are our foundation friends also going to be pumping money into districts to pay teacher salaries?  Seriously????

  • Todd

    Why stop there.  I’m sure there are thousands of people who are out there who have college degrees and would like to help people in other ways.  Let’s send them to summer school and when they are done, I’m sure they will make great doctors and surgeons.  Personally, I always liked going to airshows and reading about airplanes so maybe there is a summer school program I can enroll in and then be able to design airplanes.

  • Pingback: Teach for America, Inc. will collect $55,000 for each Ohio teacher | Thinking Again

  • http://www.plunderbund.com Eric

    We also reserve the right to delete comments willy nilly.

  • clambake

    Why is this just a problem of Kasich? From what I’ve read our leaders at the federal level are quite enamored of Teach for America.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s call these TFA teachers what they are — scabs. 

    Also Kasich thinks these rich kids from elite colleges teaching for two or three years to burnish their resumes before returning to school to become lawyers or get MBAS — which TFA helps pay for — have “real-life understanding”? To me, it’s the kid from the modest home — maybe the first in her family to go to college — who decides she’d like to dedicate her life to inspiring other kids coming up behind her and who is willing to dedicate her LIFE to an underpaid, disrespected profession despite having a pile of college debt that has the “real-life understanding.” But then it’s Kasich, an he seems to have fallen out of touch with “real life” over the years.

    Thoroughly disgusting on so many levels. They should be required to send a TFA scab into a high performing district for every one they are allowed to send to a high-needs school. There would be revolution.

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