"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

TFA's Ivy League Missionaries Get Preferential Contracts in Boston

A big piece of the corporate reform model for urban American schools requires a permanent stream of Teach for America 2 year temps to fill the vacant positions that no teacher wants when your status and salary are determined by results on standardized tests that your impoverished students are sure to fail in large numbers.

TFAers learn everything they need to know about teaching in a five-week miracle summer course, and then are handed teacher-proof scripted programs built on behavior modification and parrot learning. This is the preferred solution for "highly-qualified" teachers for poor children, particularly if they can be placed in charter schools that are not bound by collective bargaining agreements. (As a Mass. DESE Factsheet states, a charter school "has the freedom to organize around a core mission, curriculum, theme, and/or teaching method and to control its own budget and hire (and fire) teachers and staff.")

The Boston Globe reported yesterday that TFa's entry into Massachusetts schools this year has been accompanied by some special considerations for the Yale and Brown grads who have decided to do some resume building while the Depression lasts:

State panel finds contract disparity

The Boston Teachers Union’s objection to the Teach for America program has sparked an investigation by the state Division of Labor Relations, which has determined that a strong likelihood exists that the Boston School Committee violated the union contract when signing an agreement with the highly regarded national program.

Some of the possible violations center around differences between the union contract and the Teach for America agreement, which essentially appears to give the 19 Teach for America recruits greater rights in retaining their positions in the event of any layoffs.

That prospect is significant because the Boston Teachers Union has questioned the wisdom of bringing in the national program at a time when budget cuts have forced the city to lay off roughly three dozen teachers in the last school year. City finances are also expected to remain tight for the foreseeable future, school officials have said.

“Bestowing special privileges on a select class of individuals without negotiating with the union and extending those privileges to all employees is not fair or equitable,’’ said Richard Stutman, president of the teachers union, which notified the state of its concerns in July.

William Horwath, Boston’s assistant superintendent for human resources, said the School Committee did not intend to break any collective bargaining rules when it entered into an agreement last summer with Teach for America, which school officials viewed as a promising strategy to boost the recruitment of minority teachers.

“We are looking at it and trying to address any discrepancies at this point,’’ Horwath said. . . .

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:29 PM

    The very nature of Teach for America devalues and degrades those of us who actually studied educational pedagogy in college. What's more troubling is that the TFA recruits in New York City almost always end up teaching special education classes--the very classes that demand the most savvy and experienced teachers.