Dear Mr. or Madam President,
Today I would like to share with you the topic of Teach for America. Teach for America is a program that places fresh college graduates into the most difficult classrooms in exchange for two years of free college. I personally believe that it is a program with good intent but is poorly executed. Teach for America needs to be stopped because it under prepares teachers, replaces experienced teachers with new and inexperienced ones, and creates difficulties for students that are avoidable.
Teach for America under prepares its graduates because they only receive only five weeks of training before they are thrown into a neighborhood that is most likely very different from their own. Some of the teachers that are accepted for the program can't even make it for the entire two years; they leave before their contract is up. How can we be sure that Teach for America really prepares teachers for this challenge? I doubt five weeks is enough to even scratch the surface of the reality of the classroom.
Teach for America replaces good, experienced teachers,. "Districts pay thousands in fees to TFA for each corps member in addition to their salaries—at the expense of the existing teacher workforce. Chicago, for example, is closing 48 schools and laying off 850 teachers and staff while welcoming 350 corps members.’’
As you can see, Teach for America pushes out the experienced staff and brings in the corps teachers. Those experienced teachers can help students much more than the new corps members ever could.
Teach for America also creates unnecessary problems. For example, most teachers don't stay in that classroom after their two year Teach for America contract, causing a sense of instability in the classroom. Twelve percent leave after their first year in the classroom. It also doesn't help that the numbers are dropping. “Applications to Teach for America fell by 16 percent in 2016, marking the third consecutive year in which the organization-which places college graduates in some of the nation's toughest classrooms-has seen its applicant pool shrink.” I think we should help existing teachers instead of just pushing them out of their classrooms. In fact, valuing Teach for America over experienced teachers is very harmful to students. This is why districts and states should not be allowed to use Teach for America.
Brown, Emma. "Teach for America Applications Fall Again, Diving 35 Percent in Three Years." The Washington Post 12 Apr. 2016: n. pag. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.
Korn, Sandra Y.L. "Teach For America Is Unethical." Teachers and Ethics. Ed. Noah Berlatsky. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. of "Don't Teach For America." crimson.com 23 Oct. 2013: n. pag. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 2 Nov. 2016.
Otani, Akane. "Most Teach For America Instructors Plan to Flee Teaching." Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 09 Mar. 2015. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.