Teach 4 America: Union Busters?

t4aNew Orleans Reading the New Orleans Times-Picayune this morning was troubling.  I had thought about this problem before, but was confronted with too many telling and disturbing statistics to continue to ignore it today.  Like everyone, I want to believe that Teach for America and similar programs are good, not just for the young folks who sign up, but for the students, schools, and systems.  The numbers make me wonder and worry though if districts and principals in New Orleans are the only ones using such programs to engage in union busting, age and experience shopping, and other discriminatory – and cost saving – practices, or is this the general experience everywhere?

In New Orleans teachers are being “surplused.”  Given that literally thousands of teachers were fired (not laid off) in the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans and that the population has been increasing steadily since then, these teachers were working last spring are simply not being rehired.  Since New Orleans is also ground zero in the charter school world, this also means that the combination of the district and principles are pushing out seasoned, experienced teachers and in many cases hiring Teach 4 America types.

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