To: Steve Zimmer, LAUSD Board President, George McKenna, LAUSD Board Vice President, Monica Garcia, LAUSD Board Member, Scott Schmerelson, LAUSD Board Member, Ref Rodriguez, LAUSD Board Member, Monica Ratliff, LAUSD Board Member, Richard Vla...
LAUSD: Rescind the TFA contract
Cancel the contract that pays TFA to recruit untrained interns to teach our vulnerable special education students. Identify reputable programs to recruit graduates and student teachers who are committed to the teaching profession, to our schools and our students.
Why is this important?
This is to urge the LAUSD school board to immediately rescind its contract with TFA for special education services. Our most vulnerable students deserve the most qualified professionals possible.
Los Angeles Unified School District ratified a contract with Teach For America to provide trainees to fill 25 teaching positions in special education at its November 10, 2015, board meeting. There was no debate on the matter; it was hidden in the consent calendar with attachments of attachments buried deep.
While Board member Dr. George McKenna raised important questions about TFA’s retention rate and its commitment to our students, the answers he was provided were misleading because they rely on unchecked data from TFA itself, according to a report in American Prospect (1/5/15). The truth is 87% of TFA recruits plan to leave teaching after their internships end, according to a recent article in Bloomberg News (3/9/15). LAUSD was only the most recent stop by TFA on a statewide campaign over the last few months making the same claims about the need for special ed TFAers. Most school districts from Chula Vista to Santa Ana resisted the sales job after public outcry. But those districts held actual discussions about the controversial contracts with TFA.
LAUSD senior staff needs to go back to the drawing board to create partnerships with reputable teaching programs to recruit teachers who will be qualified on Day 1 and are likely to remain committed to the teaching profession.
TFA is one of the tools that Eli Broad is using to attack our schools and undermine the very fabric of the public school system in Los Angeles (his foundation is a top funder of TFA). Our elected leaders just endorsed that by approving this contract. It should be rescinded immediately.
We are a coalition of public education advocates that includes:
Tina Andres, Santa Ana Unified teacher and special education parent
Jameson Brewer, Ph.D. candidate, former TFA
Anthony Cody, co-founder/board member Network for Public Education
Josh Leibner, National Board Certified Teacher
Cynthia Liu, K-12 News Network
Ellen Lubic, Joining Forces for Education
Carl Petersen, Change the LAUSD
Sari Rynew, retired teacher
Robert D. Skeels, Juris Doctor Candidate and public education advocate
Julian Vasquez Heilig, Ph.D., Cloaking Inequity/Education Chair, California NAACP/board member, Network for Public Education
Karen Wolfe, PSconnect
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.