In an extraordinary statement about the fundamental lack of commitment to Connecticut citizens, the Hartford Board of Education will be meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. to authorize Superintendent Christina Kishimoto to extend the Hartford Board of Education’s contract with Teach for America, costing Connecticut and Hartford taxpayers an additional $650,940.
The taxpayer funds will be used to pay Teach for America a “finders-fee” to recruit up to 210 college graduates, none of whom will have gone through a college level teacher training program, to take teaching position in Hartford classrooms.
As the memo from Superintendent Kishimoto to the Hartford Board of Education explains;
“Teach for America recruits teachers from the top colleges and universities across the country. Each teacher, corps member, commits to teach for two years in one of 39 urban and rural regions across the United States. Teach for America’s mission is to recruit, select, train and support outstanding recent college graduates to serve as highly qualified and effective teachers in urban schools.”
TFA recruits are given five weeks of training, are paid the same rate as Hartford’s fully trained beginning teachers and the federal government will allow the TFA recruits to write-off their federal student loans for each year they teach.
Meanwhile, 136,500 Connecticut residents remain unemployed including many trained teachers who already hold Connecticut teacher certificates.
Furthermore, as a direct result of Governor Dannel Malloy’s policies, there are about 8,200 FEWER jobs in state and local government since he took office. Those jobs disappeared as a result of targeted budget cuts to various government programs, including education at the state and local level. Some of those lost jobs were held by teachers with valid Connecticut teaching certificates.
In addition, hundreds of new Connecticut residents have graduated over the past couple of years from the University of Connecticut, Connecticut State University and other Connecticut colleges and universities after completing four and five-year teacher preparation programs.
These students and their families have spent tens of thousands of dollars to prepare for a teaching career in Connecticut.
But rather than give unemployed teachers and the fully-trained recent graduates an opportunity to get a job and contribute to the well-being of their home state, the Hartford Board of Education, a committee that includes the Mayor of Hartford, may vote to pay Teach for America another $650,000 to recruit mostly out-of-state kids to move to Connecticut for a couple of years.
The notion that the Hartford Board of Education would even consider such an insult to Connecticut and its taxpayers is disturbing beyond words.
To date, Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport,Windham, New London and other cities have already paid millions of taxpayer funds to Teach for America so that they can recruit and place inexperienced teachers in our state’s urban classrooms.
The fact that Governor Malloy and Education Commissioner Prior aren’t stepping in to put Connecticut citizens first is even more outrageous.
Once again, we are left to ask, are there any elected or appointed state or municipal officials who will stand up for Connecticut’s families?
The question is, will Governor Malloy, Commissioner Pryor or Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra act before it is too late?
Or will they turn their backs on Connecticut citizens yet again?