While the Walton Family Foundation has contributed more than $100 million to Teach For America, it seems that the organization’s hiring strategy favors charter schools. Specifically, it seems to be more inclined to place teachers in charter schools than in traditional public schools. But what is the true reason for the preference? Does the Walton Family Foundation really want to place teachers into charter schools? And should Teach for America place its teachers in charter schools?
The “corporate reform” movement has largely promoted school choice, charter schools, and programs such as Teach for America. Its promise was to place intelligent college graduates in public schools for two years. Many of these reformers believed that these newcomers with high SAT scores would be able to turn around the nation’s schools. However, the reality of these reformers is less rosy.
While TFA’s program is closely tied to the charter school movement, there are also many negatives associated with the organization. Many critics believe that TFA does not adequately prepare its corps members for the realities of teaching in charter schools. It also has a close relationship with the charter school network, which makes the organization more likely to send them to charter schools than to traditional public schools. Furthermore, the TFA program is criticized for providing novice teachers with a difficult transition period and for requiring their graduates to work in an environment without a good teaching experience.
While TFA has a long history of destabilizing traditional public schools, its recent shift toward supporting charter schools is worrying. While some teachers are enthusiastic about the prestige and choice that teaching offers, others are wary of the uncertainty and instability of public schools. Charter schools, however, provide billionaires with a way to manipulate a public entity. However, TFA should avoid taking part in such a project.
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