I was listening to a Gary Rubenstein broadcast on the computer tonight. It was basically a podcast on Teach for America. Gary was once a member of that organization and even worked for TFA in 1996. Gary is a math teacher who is simply brilliant. He skewers education rheeform and particularly TFA on his blog, It’s definitely worth checking it out.
TFA chooses students who look good on paper. Oftentimes, they’re people who believe that they can change the world. They give these college graduates 5 weeks of training, usually with about 16 hours of student teaching with a class size of 10. Then they put them into some of the most difficult class sizes in the country. The original idea was that they would serve in urban districts where there was a shortage of teachers. Is there really a shortage of teachers in Chicago or Philadelphia? These well-meaning students have basically become scabs.
For the TFA corps members, it’s also a disservice. Many teachers go into teaching as a second career. However, by foisting these kids who didn’t pursue education majors into an impossible situation with limited training, they ruin any chance that they might eventually become real teachers. Instead, we get two years learning to each on other people’s kids followed by Wall Street or law school usually. Of course the most damage done by TFA members is in administration.
“Chicago schools have seen reductions at almost every level over the past couple years. Cuts to teacher salaries, jobs, and benefits, student arts and athletics programs, and even entire school budgets have created a new austerity within CPS. Amidst all the downsizing, however, one educational element has been growing in stark contrast. Teach For America recruits are teeming into Chicago schools like never before.”
“As some of you may remember, last year I published a “List of 2012 Student Protests Regarding Education in the U.S.” list. Since this post was such a huge hit and received a lot of continuous support last year, I knew I had to make sure I did it again.”
“It described the decades-long investment banker for firms such as Merrill Lynch as a “small-business woman,” referring, I guess, to her current gig as “founder [in 2009] and managing partner of GSV Advisors—part of GSV Capital Corp., “a publicly traded investment fund that seeks to invest in high-growth, venture-backed private companies. GSV Advisors is “a firm that provides advisory services to companies in the education and business services sectors.” In plainer language, GSV Advisors invests in firms that that bring high-tech to solving problems in education. An example is GVS-backed DreamBox Learning, online individualized math instruction that, the company claims, “improves early educational outcomes for every child—regardless of zip code.”
“So, you are 2.5x more likely to be a rich adult if you were born rich and never bothered to go to college than if you were born poor and, against all odds, went to college and graduated. The disparity in the outcomes of rich and poor kids persists, not only when you control for college attainment, but even when you compare non-degreed rich kids to degreed poor kids!”
“This project could not be worse for human priorities,” said Bob Fioretti, the alderman of the ward that would house the arena. “We can’t afford neighborhood schools, but we can bankroll an unnecessary basketball arena for a private university?”
“One example: CTU backed legislation in the spring session that would close three corporate tax loopholes that bring no economic benefit and cost the state $445 million a year. It died in committee.”
“Parasites are inherently destructive to their hosts. They sap energy needed for growth and vitality, and divert it towards the counterproductive growth of the parasite itself. Hosts can adapt to coexist with a parasite, or they can take steps to rid themselves of the parasite altogether. By far the best course of action is to identify the elements the parasites have introduced into our educational system for their selfish purposes, and drive them out, starting with the standardized testing machine, and the false claim that this is any sort of accurate measurement of educational excellence.”