Teach for America Experiences a Dip in Recruitment

It seems as though the growing controversy around the teacher training program, Teach for America (TFA), is slowly but surely starting to have an effect on the organization’s recruitment numbers.

According to program officials, TFA may fall short of its recruitment mark by more than 25 percent next year, citing polarization around the program as well as a decreased interest in teaching by recent college graduates as two possible reasons for the decline.

“At this point, we’re tracking toward an incoming corps that may be smaller than the current one, and because demand for corps members has grown in recent years, we could fall short of our partners’ overall needs by more than 25 percent,” wrote TFA officials in a letter to their partners. “Today’s education climate is tough– fewer Americans rate education as a “top 2″ national issue today, and teacher satisfaction has dipped precipitously in recent years– down from 62 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2012.”

In the letter, program officials also added that the divided conversation around education, coupled with strict budgets and the perception of teaching not being a financially secure career, also contribute to the program’s projected failure to meet the demands of their partners.

However, many critics of TFA blame the program for its own problems, pointing out issues with its long-time practice of recruiting recent college graduates, giving them five weeks of summer training and then throwing them into the classroom’s of some of today’s most needing communities. While the program only requires a two year commitment from its trained teachers, many of the members don’t meet the requirement, leaving a high turnover rate in classrooms where students are in dire need of stable teachers.

Already, a few school districts are ending their relationship with TFA including Pittsburgh, who dropped its ties to the program last year. Meanwhile, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a state legislation earlier this year that would award the program $1.5 million over two years.

SOURCE: The Washington Post