Teach for America program being considered in school district
September 4, 2012 · 5:12 PM
The Renton School District is once again considering filling vacant teacher positions with participants from the controversial Teach for America program.
District officials will present the Renton School Board with information on their proposal to include Teach for America (TFA) applicants for positions at a study session at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday in district offices, 300 SE Seventh Street in Renton. Board members are to vote on the proposal at a future board meeting.
They will have to decide whether or not to enter into an agreement that would provide coursework, mentoring and classroom support for candidates in the University of Washington's Accelerated Certification for Teachers of U-ACT program for those hired in Renton. The UW is the educational host of the program.
The Teach for America program has it's critics because it replaces teachers with professionals who have a college degree or are professionals, but they don't have a teaching certificate. It is a non-profit group that enlists these college graduates and professionals to teach in classrooms for two or more years in communities across the nation. The applicants must earn their teaching certificate by the end of their first year.
The Renton School District currently has several principals and more than two dozen teachers, mostly in Career and Technical Education fields, who have come to their professional practice through alternative teaching certifications, according to a district release. All of the alternative teaching credentials are approved by the State Board of Education, the state's education office and the state's Professional Educator Standards Board programs.
The proposal does include teachers' concern for including TFA applicants in the hiring process. "Teachers say that using these unskilled employees as teachers in the classroom devalues and disrespects the teaching profession," a district release reports. So far this year the district has hired 120 traditionally-certified teachers.