Teach for America Layoffs

Teach for America Layoffs

Teach for America is laying off 15% of their staff, following cuts last year as well. They are spinning this as shifting from a centralized model to a more regional model, but that’s just “PR nonsense.” The core reason is simply that their recruitment looks down for a third straight year and their fundraising is hurting.  There’s no obvious reason to think that this move towards regions is going to help them.

I’d suggest two possible reasons for the shortfall in recruitment. First, the core recruit for TFA, the graduate of an upper level college, is facing both mounting student debt and a better job market.  The combination is enough to push a recent graduate to a job that pays better to help with the student loan debt.  

But the second reason is the more interesting one, to me.  These teachers are typically placed in difficult situations that would challenge the most experienced teacher with inadequate (to put it generously) training.  They’ve been told that teacher preparation programs and experienced teachers have failed and have nothing to teach them, hence the need for them.  But teaching is hard and they don’t know what to do.  Sure, some of them are probably naturals, but most of them are not and would benefit from mentoring—if they were receptive to it. Since too many of them are not receptive, and they are placed into difficult situations, I would bet that word of mouth is not great.  Sooner or later, even with a great sales pitch, bad word of mouth catches up to any organization that relies on a steady stream of new people.

Here’s the link to a Diane Ravitch blog with an e-mail from a senior staff person about the layoffs.  The comments are definitely worth reading.  http://dianeravitch.net/2016/03/21/insider-big-trouble-inside-tfa/


Jared Gellert is the Executive Director for CITE.

CITE is the Center for Integrated Training and Education . For over 25 years, CITE has and continues to train TEACHERS (Early Childhood, Professional Certification, Special Ed, Grad Courses, DASA); COUNSELORS (School, Mental Health Masters, Advanced Certificate); and ADMINISTRATORS (SBL, SDL, Public Admin, Doctorate) in all five boroughs of NYC, Yonkers, and Long Island.

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