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In Kansas, Teach for America Underdelivers and Still Gets Paid $270K

November 18, 2018

On November 16, 2018, (NPR in Wichita, Kansas) published an article entitled, “Kansas to Pay Teach for America $270,000 for Recruiting Three Teachers.”

$270,000. Three teachers. (But if you count last year, which was pre-TFA-contract, and allow those teachers to become part of the TFA commitment, the number rises to five recruits….)

Still, $270K for five TFAers. A waste of public money, for sure.


Add to that story the reality that those three teachers aren’t permanent hires. TFA doesn’t promote classroom teaching as a career, just a temporary stop onto a more lucrative potential career: Ed Reform Ladder Climber.

Of course, one rung of said ladder is to spend two or three TFA years in the classroom, only to turn around and be compensated handsomely as a TFA recruiter. (For examples, see here and here and here and here.) It is even possible to become a TFA recruiter having been a substitute teacher for under two years, though, to be fair, one might possibly break the four-year mark in the classroom before landing on the incomey softness of TFA recruitment.

And as a TFA recruiter– regardless of the number of recruits, apparently– the payoff is sweet.

From the article:

…The Kansas City, Kansas school district says it only hired three Teach For America instructors this year. Two other recruits started teaching in the district last year before Kansas hired the organization. …

The state education department says Teach For America told the department it recruited all five of those teachers this year. The department is currently drafting a $270,000 contract to pay the organization.

A budget document from the Kansas Legislative Research Department dated Oct. 10 states, “Teachers will be paid a salary of $36,000.” But that money actually goes just to recruiting, training and placing each teacher.

That totals $180,000 from the state for recruiting five teachers, plus $80,000 to pay for the salary, benefits and travel expenses of a recruiter and $10,000 for one day of professional development.   [Emphasis added.]

So, here is a suggestion to state legislatures considering doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars to TFA in the name of filling teacher shortages:

Use that money to raise teacher salaries across your state. Or, at the very least, use the money to offer new hires a signing bonus, and stagger the bonus across, say, the first five years as a teacher in the state (or district).

Do something with that money other than paying a bloated ed reform organization to underdeliver quotas of temp teachers recruited by those who left the classroom to make more money recruiting.



Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.


Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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From → TFA

  1. LisaM permalink

    TFA is a perfect Amway (MLM) scam for education.

  2. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    The audacity of the TFA and friends amazes me. Money, money, money, money = TFA

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Mercedes Schneider: How Kansas Wasted Money on TFA | Diane Ravitch's blog
  2. School Hasn’t Changed in 100 Years. So Saith TFA. | deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

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