Teach For America, not California

Larry Sand:

Assembly Bill 221 in California would prohibit school districts from entering into a contract with a third-party organization that employs teachers “who commit to teaching in the organization for less than five years.” This is an obvious bullet aimed at Teach For America, whose name was invoked but then removed from an earlier version of the bill.

Founded in 1990 by Princeton graduate Wendy Kopp, TFA chooses the best and the brightest college grads – only about 15 percent of applicants are accepted into the program – and trains them. These committed and enthusiastic young men and women who exhibit leadership qualities, get five weeks of teacher preparation, ongoing support once in the classroom, and must commit to teach for two years, typically in some the nation’s worst schools.

That’s not good enough for California’s teachers unions and their legislative toadies who, despite an ongoing whine about a teacher shortage, are angling to make it worse. California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt claims the shortage is due to low teacher pay, and, referencing TFA, contends that “placing transient, untrained professionals in the state’s most vulnerable communities will just exacerbate existing problems.”