PSAT for 7-23-13: How about an LSC no-TFA policy?

psat_logoI came back from a week in DC at the Parents Across America annual meeting to find my friend Xian Barrett’s face on the front page of the Sun-Times. Xian, a top notch teacher, 2010 U. S. Teaching Ambassador Fellow, and all-around excellent human being, was just fired in the latest round of CPS budget death-blows. Read Xian’s wonderful, moving blog post, “Yes, I Was Fired and Still We Will Win,” here.

I first wrote about Xian’s Teaching Ambassador recommendation to Arne Duncan and his minions that LSCs are the best, most democratic way to run schools – just one of the many cool things he has done over the years.

It was inevitable that when CPS moved to lump-sum budgeting this summer, schools would feel forced to make choices between keeping fewer experienced teachers or hiring more new, less expensive teachers to maintain lower class sizes. Of course, our students need both experienced teachers like Xian AND lower class sizes, not one or the other.

Folks in power who don’t seem to care what students really need are pushing Teach for America (TFA), the heavily-funded program that puts college graduates with nothing more than a 5-week summer training course into struggling urban schools.

To teach.

Senate Democrats are big on TFA. They have been re-writing NCLB requirements that every child have a “highly-qualified” teacher to make it fit TFA newbies.

What can you do? Well, here’s an idea. Since Local School Councils are the policy-making bodies in their schools, why not pass a policy against hiring TFA interns? While it is the principal’s ultimate right to hire staff, the LSC does have the right and responsibility to make recommendations on hiring personnel, and can make policy based on the needs of the school and the students.

LSCs, you have the authority – why not use it?

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.