Tuesday, July 30, 2013

TFA Becomes Scab for America

I've read a lot of criticism of Teach for America over the last few years. For one thing, they provide a scant five weeks of training, and that's clearly insufficient preparation to teach in urban schools. This is particularly true when you compare it to student teaching, which is basically a full year shadowing and experienced teacher.

But when there are teacher shortages, TFA is the tip of the iceberg. I myself was recruited via a subway ad, with no experience at all. And I watched for years as the DOE conducted intergalactic searches, taking anyone in the universe who could occupy a wooden chair in front of kids.

I don't fault non-career teachers who wish to give back to the community, or even pad their resumes en route to doing something else. If there is a need, and they are filling it, they are helping, even if they have to learn on the job.

But when faux Democrat/ Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fires thousands of teachers and hires TFA grads to teach kids, that's something else altogether. In fact, TFA is now enabling the unemployment of working people. They are making their likely idealistic young college grads into scab labor. Their insane defense, that the jobs were eliminated and they are taking newly created jobs, is nothing more than a semantic game, unworthy of anyone capable of serious discourse.

The more nonsense I read from reformy types like those who have the audacity to muster such an argument, the more I think that objectivity is overrated. In fact, it's reasonable to present both sides of an argument. But like many other things reformy, this is indefensible. The argument is so weak it's ridiculous, and does not merit consideration.

If we're really going to help our kids, we have to raise them to differentiate not only between, say, fiction and non-fiction, but also between logic and BS. Because they're going to need that skill more than ever in the brave new world where people can scab and claim it's "for America."
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