To: Arcelio Aponte, President of the NJBOE, Joseph Fisicaro, Vice President of the NJBOE, Mark W. Biedron, NJBOE Member, Ronald K. Butcher, NJBOE Member, Claire Chamberlain, NJBOE Member, Jack Fornaro, NJBOE Member, Edithe Fulton, NJBOE Memb...

Stop TFA in Newark Public Schools (UPDATED)

Stop the proposed push to bring in Teach for America teachers to Newark, New Jersey to teach our most needy children, and call for an immediate investigation on the layoffs of the teachers who will be affected by this proposed action.

Why is this important?

According to Bob Braun's Ledger, "The state administration of the Newark Public Schools (NPS) is expected to lay off hundreds of experienced city teachers and replace many with new hires, including more than 300 members of Teach for America (TFA). The report comes from union sources but is supported both by the latest version of the state’s “One Newark” plan and by the Walton Family Foundation website. The foundation is expected to subsidize the hiring of the new teachers. It was not denied by an NPS spokesman who said future personnel actions were determined by enrollment declines." The education of our most needy children should not be taken lightly or seen as a play ground for those who lack the background and experience. Our schools need experienced teachers who want to make a career out of educating our children, while also developing relationships with their families and communities. The students need people who will be dedicated to their service to the children and the larger community. It is unjust for anyone to allow untrained college graduates to come into our most needy areas to "play school" or use our children as guinea pigs or lab rats.

Additionally, our basic democratic rights are violated when teachers can be fired at will and replaced with low-salaried workers/bodies without due diligence. The effort to ignore and waive the tenure rules already in place is not only an attack on our schools, teachers, and communities, but it is an attack on our democracy. It is only a matter of time that the types of reforms that are taking place in our most needy areas move into our more affluent areas. This sets a precedent for all communities especially as districts face fiscal challenges with the implementation of the Common Core Standards and PARCC assessments; this could be a reality all over New Jersey.

We are asking that you honor our democracy and fight for its existence. The Walton Foundation, and Teach for America should not be able to alter the course of our democracy and community and we ask that you stand with us to fight against anything that will pose a threat to our children and democracy. Remember, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" (Martin Luther King Jr.)