To the Editor:
At our Chicago school, Teach For America teachers continue to provide strong instructional support for students and rich collaboration for staff members (“Chicago Wants TFA to Commit Longer,” Sept. 22, 2004). We currently have five TFA teachers on our staff, including two English-as-a-second-language pullout teachers, as well as 4th, 5th, and 6th grade teachers. We fully support tfa, as do other school administrators here in Chicago.
The problem of teacher retention has nothing to do with Teach For America per se. It is a systemic problem that is contributed to by low pay, dysfunctional educational boards, and dysfunctional administrators who do a poor job of providing a safe and orderly environment for their staff members.
The TFA teachers we have hired over the last four years have done an excellent job of integrating themselves into our school community and students’ lives. In a time of educational crisis, we need to stop pointing fingers and start working together with all external partners to provide educational opportunities for the children in our care. It is hypocritical to criticize tfa for a lack of retention when that is a systemwide problem across the country.
Kanoon Magnet School