Monday, August 03, 2009

Turnover Kills School Systems

For those of you at home, keeping score, the huge turnover of teachers in RSD schools means that the absolute earliest any RSD school can possibly be accredited by SACS is now 2015. That's if anyone in the RSD is planning on keeping records starting this year in preparation for applying for accreditation in the future. That's of course, if anyone running the RSD knows what accreditation is and why it is important.

Don't be fooled, folks, surplusing so many teachers has nothing at all to do with job performance. And, what the article isn't saying is that plenty of the teachers surplused this time were the TFA and teachNOLA folks who came in back in 2007.

This has everything to do with the RSD having a strategic plan that consists solely of "contract out our jobs to charter schools." That's it. Every single year, there have been "consolidations" that weren't actual consolidations, school closings that were really only school movings, and a contract for 250 TFA kids per year.

Let me be clear, when I first heard of TFA under Clinton, it wasn't supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be filling gaps where it was difficult to staff schools, a noble goal. It was to encourage young people to become teachers, since we were facing a nationwide shortage, another noble goal. It was supposed to give college grads a sort of "internal peace corps" rotation; government service for tuition, something I think is good for the country as a whole.

Nowadays, it is being used as a union-busting, educational experiment empowering tool taking advantage of folks who want to do good deeds. But it ain't their fault. I'm sure there are school districts elsewhere languishing in need of enthusiastic teachers, but the TFA folks are being marshalled into areas with lower need to provide a backbone for the charter school movement. This is especially true in New Orleans.

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