Over the next couple of years, Los Angeles will see an influx of more than 700 teachers from Teach for America, a non-profit that recruits college graduates, trains them, and places them in public schools across the country.
Most of them will end up in charter schools. Of the 340 teachers teaching in Los Angeles this year, about 90 percent are going to charter schools, according to Lida Jennings, the Interim Executive Director for Teach For America Los Angeles.
“There are few vacancies for new teachers in LAUSD schools,” said Jennings. “There are obviously experienced teachers, that take priority over new teachers in LAUSD’s hiring process.”
Some schools, like charters, pilots and some Local Initiative Schools, have direct control over hiring new teachers to fill vacancies. In other schools, LA Unified controls who is hired. A large part of Teach for America’s job is learning where the vacancies are and sending out resumes to try and get its teachers placed.
The 700 new teachers are made possible by grants from the Walton family, the richest family in the world and owners of the Walmart chain, which gave $20 million to the New York City based non-profit. That money will go toward the “recruitment, training and professional development of nearly 4,000 first- and second-year teachers,” according to a press release.
In 2012, Teacher for America had over 10,000 teachers around the country and an operating budget of over $200 million. Prominent Teach for America alumni include former Chancellor of Washington, D.C. public schools Michelle Rhee and LAUSD Board member Steve Zimmer.
UTLA President Warren Fletcher did not respond to a call seeking comment.