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Rahm’s School Strategy

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While I don’t doubt that Chicago has a real budget crisis coming from unfunded pension requirements, this is pretty telling of how Rahm Emanuel plans to use Teach for America as a way to undercut the teachers’ union. Last week, Emanuel laid off 1036 teachers, including CTU activist Xian Barrett, profiled here. This was buried but quite telling:

Some of the teachers could be replaced by Teach For America recruits, as the district has committed to more than doubling its investment in the TFA program that trains college graduates for five weeks then sends them into schools for two years at a time. The Board of Education voted to increase its payment to TFA from $600,000 to nearly $1.6 million, and to add up to 325 new TFA recruits to CPS classrooms, in addition to 270 second year “teacher interns”.

TFA spokeswoman Becky O’Neill said about 200 of the new recruits are destined for charters, the rest to interview for openings in neighborhood schools.

“We’re looking forward to getting more information and better understanding how all of this impacts the schools and principals with whom we partner,” she said.

Sharkey denounced CPS’ TFA placements “at the same time it’s laying off veterans. This is an organization who started out saying their mission was to serve underserved children with a teachers shortage. There’s no longer a teacher shortage.”

Rather than decrease TFA funding and save teachers jobs, TFA funding skyrocketed. Teach for America is basically a union-busting organization. Seeing teachers’ unions as a problem is central to its ideology and it is happy to take jobs away from experienced teachers and give them to underprepared recent college graduates.

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