Democrats blocking expansion of Teach for America in Nevada’s largest school district

May 25, 2013 by

LAS VEGAS – A handful of supposedly “pro-education” Democratic lawmakers are fighting a proposal to expand the use of Teach for America instructors in the Clark County school district.

Teach for America has been providing the district with teachers since 2004, but TFA leaders have not been able to meet the district’s growing demand for its educators.

TFA is a nonprofit organization that recruits top college graduates from around the nation and places them in lower income schools around the nation.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to help bring more TFA instructors to Clark County, and has proposed spending $2 million over the next two years to help the organization hire about 100 more teachers for the state’s largest school district, reports the Las Vegas Sun.

State officials say the district needs to hire about 1,700 teachers for the upcoming school year. Republicans say if TFA isn’t allowed to help fill some of those vacancies, long-term substitutes will be used instead.

It seems likely that most parents would rather have their children taught by a very bright, energetic TFA educator than a long-term substitute.

But “a contingent of Assembly Democrats” apparently don’t care what parents want, and are “digging in their heels against the money,” the Las Vegas Sun reports.

Assembly Majority Leader William Horne, D – Las Vegas, has said he’s “not a fan of Teach for America.”

“I’m not a fan because I would rather invest money in teachers who are going to stay and not into teachers who are going to come for two years and leave,” Horne said.

Horne’s criticism of TFA is a familiar one.

For the past 23 years, TFA has been carefully recruiting, training, and placing top college graduates in classrooms where they work with disadvantaged and at-risk students. TFA educators commit to two years of service, though a significant number of them choose to continue teaching.

“As a result (of TFA), students see good, committed teachers in classrooms that otherwise would be filled by long-term substitutes,” the Las Vegas Sun reports.

Survey after survey shows that TFA educators are huge assets for their schools. One survey of school principals said TFA teachers were at least as effective as veteran teachers, reports the Sun.

The nation’s teacher unions are threatened by TFA teachers, who are focused on helping at-risk kids – not in the unions’ never-ending power struggle with school leaders.

And since teacher unions are the Sugar Daddies of the Democratic Party, it’s not surprising that a band of union-controlled lawmakers wants to nix a $2 million investment in TFA.

If TFA is to help additional Clark County students next fall, the Legislature will have to resolve this issue quickly.

“Legislators need to pass a budget by June 3,” the Sun reports.

Democrats blocking expansion of Teach for America in Nevada’s largest school district – :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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