Wednesday, May 05, 2010

1,983 teachers received layoff notices while Teach for America returns to Detroit schools

Teach for America returns to Detroit schools
Marisa Schultz / The Detroit News
Teach for America, the national corps of college graduates who teach in underserved schools for two years, will come back to Detroit this summer.
One hundred graduates -- 80 in Detroit charter schools and 20 in Detroit Public Schools -- will descend on the city during one of the most highly charged climates Teach for America has ever seen, officials acknowledge.
As the school board battles Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb over academic controls, the president of the teachers union is threatening an injunction to stop aspiring teachers from entering classrooms if it's at the expense of laying off current teachers in those subject areas.
Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson said inviting graduates who haven't studied teaching when 1,983 teachers have received layoff notices "devalues the profession and the professionals."
Teach for America teachers would join the union at DPS, and would interview for open positions in high-need areas, like math and science, Teach officials said.
"Teach for America exists to close the achievement gap between low-income and high-income kids," said Ify Offor, vice president of new site development. "... I don't think anyone can think about education in Detroit and not think that real change and real transformation need to take place."
Teach for America had 40 members in DPS in 2002-03 but pulled out when there was no guarantee of placement.
This time, Teach was wooed by a coalition of charter school operators, philanthropic groups and Bobb's team.
"We look forward to a successful partnership and will do all we can to make sure it is a lasting one," Bobb's chief academic and accountability auditor, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, said in a statement.
Teach, which started in 1990 and serves 35 regions nationwide, looks to open new locations yearly. Detroit joins Rhode Island; San Antonio, Texas; and Alabama as new expansions for the 2010-11 school year.

From The Detroit News:

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