Most Teach For America Teachers Will End Up at Charters

teach-for-america-newsOver 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.

Previous posts: Compromise Protects “Intern” Teachers – For NowWhat Next for Teach For America?Stuck in the Middle: Steve Zimmer

  • Sonja Luchini

    Wouldn’t it have been nice if, instead of foisting Teach For Awhile interns on our most needy children, the Waltons would’ve donated to helping LAUSD re-hire laid-off librarians, nurses, classroom aides, custodial and other support staff that our schools are unable to provide on a continuous basis in these tough budget times.

    Families of students with disabilities should be extra vigilant as well after this announcement. I still haven’t received the list I requested from the Charter Office last year of which charter schools have teachers with a Level II, Moderate/Severe credential which is needed if enrolling a student with autism (high functioning and/or Asperger’s diagnosis included). many charters enroll a few of the high functioning kids who don’t need 1:1 aides to boost their disability enrollment numbers, but don’t always have the proper teachers on staff or the services provided that they need.

    How will these TFA kids, with 5 weeks of training, be able to work with English language learners and students with disabilites? Our children only have one shot at an education and to have it wasted on these TFA kids who will just put in some time for a resume star and move on is absolutely abhorrent.

    Charters are supposed to be “as good as or better than” public schools. With this announcement, I’d feel better if every charter taking one of these 700 also have a Special Education District Validation Review to ensure proper procedures and compliance….but good luck with that. I can’t even get a list from the office.