Teach for America Signs Deal With Nation's Largest For-Profit Charter Schools Company


Poisoning the well.
Thanks Goldy for covering this important story. You're awesome!
No Goldy, these are the sorts of changes that Obama is making to our educational system.

And THAT'S change you can belive in! All the way to the corporate run banks.
I can't get with blaming companies for being companies. That land swizz sounds like a great deal. If I was Imagine, I'd do the same thing. We set these mothers up to make money, and it is dumb to be surprised when they go about it. The people who are to blame for this - if anyone - are the school boards, education departments, whatever, who are supposed to be regulating them.
And the reason I say "if anyone" is because neither sides in the debate seem to take seriously exactly what introducing companies and markets is about. Markets produce better outcomes when they work because they kill off the weak. If we are serious about allowing a market to work in education, then lefties shouldn't get antsy about every failure - it's a market, that's supposed to happen; and righties shouldn't pretend that every private company is wonderful - some of them will inevitably be rubbish, and you should be happy about letting the market savage them.
Obviously, the point is how to stop a market failure from blighting the lives of hundreds of children.
@4: The way to stop a market failure from blighting the lies of hundreds of children is to stop there from being a market.

You know... your argument works for traditional public schools as well: Perhaps we shouldn't get antsy about every failure there, either?

The point is, there's nothing to suggest that charters improve outcomes, on average, and plenty to suggest that they do worse. So why the fuck should we subject public schools to the market?

Eventually standard students will be replaced with Charter Children.

These cloned babies will have 55% of the educational needs of standard kids, because their brains will be one-half the size...optimally designed for fast food drive-thrus.
Capitalism is great for stuff we DON'T need: Bubblegum, televisions, kitchen utensils, etc.

Capitalism is terrible for stuff we DO need: Health care, national security, education, etc.
As @4 says, this is precisely what a for-profit company exists to do - make money. Which poses the obvious dilemma: when a for-profit corporation gets into the business of educating our children, should we be surprised that the profit-motive takes precedence over the education-motive?
I completely agree - I'm a Brit. We're just in the process of trying to emulate the charter model, and it's working no better there. I see very little benefit to marketisation.
But I think that directing your ire at the companies which rush in for making dodgy land deals is pointless. That's what they're designed to do.

"your argument works for traditional public schools as well: Perhaps we shouldn't get antsy about every failure there"

Nah, I don't think it does. Generally we make something a public service precisely because we've decided it's so important that we can't countenance a failure. So when a failure happens, it's a big deal.

If we let markets in, the logic would be:
1) The market is so mature and efficient that it's less likely to fail disastrously than government provision (like mobile phones, perhaps? In Europe, they're pretty infallible.)
2) We've decided that a failure wouldn't matter so much, after all
3) We have decent back-up for when something goes wrong.

Fairly obviously, (1) doesn't apply. I'm presuming (2) doesn't apply. Perhaps they thought (3) - distribute the kids around other schools?

Or possibly, none of the above, but
4) Free market! Get government out of my education!

Anyway, the blame belongs with legislators/regulators. I dunno, I'm just fed up with people being surprised by companies being shit. Perhaps that's your point, though... to point out to idiot legislators that companies aren't the darling angels they seem to think...
Maybe I'll shut up! Thanks for the reply!
I'm just happy that some media source in our lives is actually pointing out the truth behind what every other media source promotes as gospel; that corporate-run, for profit education groups are pushing the reform movement. Most other sources fail to mention the ties. Let people decide for themselves. As a teacher, this movement is really sad. The public seems to dig it, though. Schools should be factories, churning out well-educated clones. Teachers tend to think that we do a bit more than that...
@1: "Poisoning the well."

Do you actually understand what a logical fallacy is, or are you just wikiskimming like all the others that don't understand Begging the Question or Ad Hominem?

You should probably save that one for where it's actually applicable.

When as ANY other motive ever been paramount above or even equal to the profit-motive in a Capitalistic enterprise?
We're going through this is Louisiana right now. The "education reform" package the governor has put forth for this legislative session is heavy on increasing the number of charter schools, actively encourages organizations like TFA by essentially doing away with tenure (you can only get tenure now after five years of being among the top 10% of teachers in the state based on student test scores), and promoting vouchers for private schools.

The new state superintendent of education (who does not have any kind of education degree - undergrad or advanced) is a 35 year old former TFAer who was heading the state's Recovery School District, which included all of New Orleans, and some of the schools deemed to be "failing" (others were given over to charter companies with very little vetting). The RSD has significantly lower test scores and graduation rates that the state average. And they employ A LOT of TFAers. While these were struggling schools to begin with, taking a bunch of brand new college grads without education degrees and no more commitment to the schools than their 2 year commitment to TFA requires is insane.
1. Conservatives love TFA because they see a path to cheap labor and a way to undermine unions. Nevermind the inferior classroom teaching and dedication to the profession that comes with someone trained for 5 weeks.

2. Bringing TFA to Seattle in tandem with the charter push at the state is no accident. To remain in the black, charters need low-paid teachers. (Research for instance Imagine, Inc. There is a whole lot of scummyness easily found in the charter chain's business practices, results, private use of public money etc.)

3.TFA kids are nice and earnest. The TFA organization is calculating and focused on growing Big Bigger Bigger. Not on bettering public education. Those days are a decade gone.

4. Corporate Reformers Shannon Campion at the faux-grassroots PAC Stand for Children WA, Lisa MacFarlane at the sham-Democrats for Education Reform (venture capitalist vultures back that one) and Chris Korsmo and Kelly Munn at the co-opted League of Education Voters thought they could slam charters through this legislative session. (They had Gates Foundation $$ backing them.) They were wrong.

For charters' labor, they naturally assumed Puget Sound TFA would be there to fill the halls of charters with Innovative! Young! Earnest! Best n Brightest! kids putting in their 2 years of public service.

TFA alum Dean Tom Stritikus at the UW School of Ed brought TFA here in backroom cahoots with some $$$ high tech entrepreneurs such as Nick "my money talks so I will throw a tantrum until I extract Corporate ed reform out of the Democrats" Hanauer, Gates, Bezos this n Ballmer that, The Alliance for Education chamber of commerce borg, etc.

Tonight the school board will consider whether to keep TFA for year 2. No doubt, they will vote yes, but the voices pushing back will only rise in the coming year, making this an ever-growing debacle. When the 3-year contract is gone, expect to see TFA exit Seattle Public Schools. And good on those who push back, because charters and TFA do NOT provide answers. They provide more problems and less than stellar learning results. And Seattleites are smarter than the average bear er voter when they see that they are being played by the self-appointed Elite.

@15: The theory assumes that there will be "competition" and that the Truly Free Market is capable of determining the best education for children.
For those keeping up, TFA was here in the late '90s for a very brief run (so brief almost no one knows about it). Not a success then, not a success now. SPS hired 7 people (one who DOES have a teaching credential already) and Federal Way hired 4.

The UW program for TFA (and mind you, ONLY for TFA, no one else can apply) is operating at a loss as they thought that the districts would just fall all over themselves hired these "best and brightest". Didn't happen and won't happen this hiring season either.


Because we have a plethora of fully-qualified, experienced and out-of-work teachers. As the site-based hiring teams at SPS proved, when you have experience and education, it usually trumps cheerleading and smoke and mirrors.

Yes, the contract will be upheld tonight but not for long.

Keep in mind, TFA desperately needs charter legislation to pass. Charters, as the Louisana commenter stated, loves to hire TFA. Cheap, won't talk back, and you can constantly rotate them in and out.

Tell the Governor you are holding her to her word to VETO any charter legislation.
@17 My experience teaching ESL in China was that the TFA alumni were some of the best teachers we had. Of course, they were the ones who survived two full years of TFA and still had an interest in teaching. I've never worked with any TFA teachers while they were still in the program (since they don't send people to China and I only taught there).

Does anyone know if there's been a reputable study looking at TFA teachers vs. first and second-year teachers who got their jobs the standard way?
Kitts about those reputable studies look here =>


Please note that the Mathematica study involved comparison with a group of teachers many of which did not meet certification requirements.

Seattle has a large supply of fully certificated teachers. The comparison group in the mathematica study was nothing like Seattle's situation.

TFA is a glorified well funded TEMP agency. Its product is not needed in Seattle.

The Board and Superintendent violated WAC 181-79A-231 to put this fiasco in place.
Kitts you might profit from looking at Huntsville, Alabama's involvement with TFA.


@16 Tenure? Why in the blue fuck should schoolteachers ever have tenure, under any circumstances?