Newark: 700 teachers may be laid off, many replaced by TFA

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camichristieThe state administration of the Newark Public Schools (NPS) is expected to lay off hundreds of experienced city teachers and replace many  with new hires, including more than 300 members of Teach for America (TFA).  The report comes from union sources but is supported both by the latest version of the state’s “One Newark” plan and by the Walton Family Foundation website. The foundation is expected to subsidize the hiring of the new teachers. It was not denied by an NPS spokesman who said future personnel actions were determined by enrollment declines.

The NPS earlier had not responded to requests for information or confirmation or denial of previous reports that Cami Anderson, the state-appointed superintendent of Newark schools, will ask outgoing state Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf to waive seniority rights of hundreds of Newark teachers. This would permit their firing without resort to the detenuring process. Members of the Newark school board, however, confirmed Anderson’s plans to “right-size” the teaching staff.

The Waltons will do to Newark teachers what they do to Wal-Mart workers
The Waltons will do to Newark teachers what they do to Wal-Mart workers

The Walton Family Foundation website posted this note:  “Due to the impact of Teach For America’s corps members and alumni in the region, the Walton Family Foundation announced that they will support the recruitment, training and support of nearly 370 Newark area teachers over the next two years. This will undoubtedly mean great things for Newark’s students, parents and communities.”

Matthew Frankel, the spokesman for the Newark public schools, denied the Walton Family Foundation has anything to do with “One Newark.” The foundation itself refers to the Newark schools as “an investment site.” Frankel also denied newly hired teachers would replace the laid off teachers but, rather,  would be used in shortage areas. (An editorial note–I frankly don’t see the difference, especially if the shortages were created by the NPS).

According to the union sources, Anderson will attempt to fire some 700 teachers and replace about half with new hires, including the TFA members. According to the TFA regional website, Newark schools already have hired some 200 members.  They are usually graduates of liberal art programs who sign up for two years to teach in low-income areas and then leave.

Anderson herself is both a TFA graduate and an executive with the  foundation-financed TFA, an organization that also receives federal subsidies.

The Walton family owns and operates Wal-Mart stores. Their website indicates the foundation has “invested” more than $1 billion to promote “reforms” of its own liking—including the vast expansion of charter and other privatized schools and the hiring of TFA  members over conventionally trained ublic school teachers.

The mass layoff of experienced teachers and their replacement by new and untrained college graduates is part of Anderson’s “One Newark” plan that seeks to expand charter school enrollments, close conventional neighborhood public schools, and sell off school property.”Right-sizing” staff and hiring “quality” teachers also are mentioned in the latest version of the plan.

“One Newark” echoes the goals of the Walton Family Foundation which describes its role this way:

“The Walton Family Foundation invests in districts and organizations that improve the way teachers are selected, trained and compensated; close and replace low-performing schools with high-quality autonomous schools; and address weaknesses in the governance, management and instructional performance of public charter and private schools.”

Anderson is expected to announce her plans at the next school board meeting Tuesday. To fire tenured teachers, she must gain state approval of a “waiver” of seniority rules. Cerf, a strong backer of Anderson’s actions, is expected to grant the waiver.

Newark Teachers Union president Joseph Del Grosso said he expects the dismissed teachers to be drawn from the so-called “Educators without placement,” or EWPS, hundreds of teachers who, for a variety of reasons, have been reassigned to central office but not regular classrooms. Anderson also may seek to dismiss regularly working teachers in her efforts to break both seniority and tenure in the city.

Del Grosso said he expects the union to seek an injunction to block Anderson’s plans.

The full text of the response from  Frankel:

“As far as your question this morning, if I am not mistaken the Walton Family Foundation is a supporter Teach for America, other than that I have no idea what you are talking about.  I was able to figure that out myself by doing my own Google search, it took me .32 seconds according to Google.

“Like hundreds of school districts across the country, including Passaic, Paterson, Orange, Elizabeth, Trenton, and Camden included, Teach for America places great teachers in areas where there is a real shortage in Newark – areas of science, math and special ed.

“But to be clear – Walton has had no involvement in the Newark’s One Newark Plan.

“As far as plans that we are potentially considering for the future, please fairly note that this has to do with decades of enrollment decline…specifically moving from over 80K students now down to less than 40K.  We simply want to ensure that we are keeping all of our highly effective teachers in the classroom for as long as possible.”

POST-SCRIPT:

After sending me this statement, Frankel sent me another email in which he said I was a “bit off” with my story and I had not “framed” it “fairly.” He wrote:

“While declining enrollment will eventually force us to cut our total number of teaching positions, we still face shortages in certain hard-to-staff subject areas, like bilingual and special education.  this is a fact.  We will need to hire new teachers who are qualified to teach these subject areas regardless of whether we have to eventually lay off any teachers. As far as the ATF reference, they have been extremely helpful in addressing  this hard to staff positions.”

I hope–primarily for the sake of the teachers facing layoffs–that NPS publishes hard numbers soon. How many will be laid off, how many new hires will be made. As soon as I have them, I will publish them.

 

 

 

 

 

177 comments

    • Nicole F.

      I work for Teach for America and I have a Master’s Degree in Social Work and a Degree in Early Childhood Education. I’d like to know how that makes me a “scab”? I love working with this program and feel it is a great opportunity for change for these schools who need some assistance!

      • Teacher Mom

        When you replace another worker, more then likely someone who also has a masters degree IN EDUCATION with years of work experience IN EDUCATION, for no other reason than that your salary costs the district less money, YOU are a SCAB!

        • Nicole F.

          Well then offer to take a pay cut if you’d like to keep your job so badly! If your the cream of the crop and you know you need to be there do whatever you can to stay! I’m trying to make a living for myself just like you are! Did you not take the crappy paying teacher job when you first started? Did you not work in “that school” or “that town” that no one else wanted to even drive by? I’m willing to do that because I want to HELP. Your area isn’t even considered “HIGH PRIORITY” for TFA as of now. People say don’t worry unless you know you need to…

          Bob Braun: Not sure what you mean by “your area isn’t even considered ‘HGH PRIORITY.” That would seem to contradict TFA’s own website.

          • A real teacher

            If “your” the cream of the crop, then perhaps you should learn to spell! Hope “you’re” not doing any homophone lessons anytime soon!

          • Joe

            Nicole, experienced teachers know that the form of “your” that you were trying to use is “you’re.” Those teachers have paid their dues and know the best ways to reach students. They started at the bottom by fighting and scraping – not by stealing jobs from more experienced people because of an evil conservative government with no knowledge of good teaching. You must teach first by example. You need to learn that.

          • Becca Field

            Pay cuts have been taken, and benefits given up. Do not diminish the commitment of experienced and dedicated teachers here. When a district starves their schools of resources and blames teachers as a means of getting rid of experienced teachers to replace them with a revolving door of quickly trained and short term committed non-union TFAers, there is something systemically wrong. You maybe a committed teacher Nicole – one of the 5% that stays when their TFA contract is up – but this is undermining to the experienced workforce that any institution needs to survive. If you cannot see that, then indeed you are part of the problem.

          • Nicole S.

            Nicole F.- If you are suggesting that already overworked and underpaid teachers should take a PAY CUT then you ARE A SCAB. Yes, YOU personally. I can’t wait till you start dealing with the realities of teaching with administrators who are more interested in a RACE TO THE BOTTOM, turning the scholarly art of teaching into a technician job, and paying them like fast food employees- than educating children. You can’t help children if you can’t pay your own rent. Try working 6-7 days a week for your students and still struggle to pay the bills. You will get there, unless you have a wealthy spouse or family. If hedge-fund gamblers can get paid the big bucks, so can people who do the most important job in the world. I know a few TFA teachers who are good, but most are LOUSY. And the REASON TFA’s are sent to the lowest performing schools, is because administration does NOT CARE if these kids (mostly students of color) have decent teachers- which is why they send inexperienced, and frankly unqualified TFA’s who don’t even have their MA’s in teaching yet to teach the most vulnerable students.

          • Noelle

            Nicole F
            you’re a … scab why don’t you support your fellow teachers instead of trying to undermine them UNION teachers are the best thing for kids they fight for better conditions in the school they make sure the kids get the resources they need all through being UNIONIZED Youll never be paid what your truly worth Youll be nothing but a scab teacher making scab wages

          • JessieCat

            Thank you, Joe, for pointing that out. The hubris of TFA is laughable. I agree with everything you said. The problem with “failing schools” is a failing ECONOMIC system, that creates POVERTY. No one wants to talk about that, because it’s easier for the billionaires backing education “reform” to attack unions and tenured teachers. You know what’s “ineffective”? Capitalism.

          • NJGS

            To Nicole F. I admire that you want to teach in Newark. I admire that you have a degree in education and have a Masters in Social Work. My question to you is: After your two years with Teach for America do you plan on staying in Newark teaching our students?

          • cd

            Well I would hope if you’re such a great replacement for an experienced, highly educated teacher, that you would know the difference between “you’re” and ”your” and know how to use them correctly.

          • Janice Accles

            It is spelled you’re. How can you call yourself a teacher when you do not know the difference between your and you’re. How the hell did you get a masters without knowing the difference. Perhaps it was from an online university.

          • Rachel

            You’re telling one of the most important employees in America, who are also severely underpayed, to take a paycut!?!?! Good REAL teachers aren’t paid enough, seeing that they are giving our children the gift of knowledge, curiosity, kindness, etc. If anything, REAL teachers deserve a BIG raise!

        • Kathy Schaefer

          Teacher mom, I don’t mean to point a finger, but your use of the word “then” in your first sentence should be “than.” Just sayin’. I’d think with a master’s degree you would know that.

      • Jeff S

        If it’s short-term service, and you’re being used to replace teachers who are being paid better and who have longer service time, it’s little different than a scab, regardless of your good intentions.

      • Kate

        So Nicole… it’s great that you love working with Newark’s children – oh, wait, that’s not what you said, was it? You said you love working in the TFA program.

        If you understand labor history, you know that a scab is a replacement for the unionized worker who held the job before you took it. So, yes, if a tenured teacher is fired so you can take his/her job, that would make you a scab.

        • Nicole F.

          Your right Kate! I don’t work in Newark! I work somewhere much much more needy! Where classrooms are broken into, teachers are mugged for laptops and I’ve had friends who have had to be escorted to their car because of violence in the area. I may not know about Newark, but I do know the passion that a lot of my colleagues put into their job! Yeah there are always those few who are in it just for the job, but I’m sure if I came to the schools there I could pick them out of your teachers too right? Not everyone is “in it to educate”.

          • PeterP.

            You have a masters in education and you use “your” instead of “you’re” ?(each time). Now THAT fucking depressing
            .

          • M.Ed.

            Nicole, someone who has completed a master’s program should certainly know the difference between “you’re” and “your”. It sounds like YOU’RE desperate and had to scab for awhile.

          • cd

            Again, NICOLE! It’s “you’re” not “your.” You’re not a good teacher if your use of the word “you’re” is not correct. I can’t stand it when you’re trying to make a point about education and how smart you are, then you can’t even spell or use proper grammar.

          • pcd

            Nicole – I just want you to know that the ugliness and pettiness of many of these responses does not – absolutely NOT – represent all NPS teachers and I hope does not represent MOST NPS teachers. I applaud you for your compassion and desire to help those who need someone to believe in them. We need more with your heart. It seems so sad to me that some teachers are so anti-TFA. I have seen first-hand a gifted young man teach 5th grade science in a Newark school where I worked. He did a fantastic job. The point is, we can all peacefully co-exsist. The resentment comes when very good or excellent teachers who are passionate, devoted and deeply care about their kids have put in so many years of giving their lives to their “calling” (because that’s what it is for many teachers). Some are at the highest levels on the pay scale. The idea that “the system” would replace them by TFA teachers to save 20,30,40 thousand is such a profound betrayal that there is no one else to be mad at, so all that anger and resentment is aimed at TFA teachers. Just know that it’s not personal. And know that the vitriole that I am reading in this thread is definately NOT all of us. I wish you nothing but the best.

      • Dtonguis

        You are in the minority…TFA’s are NOT educators, receive 5 weeks of rudimentary pedagogy training and then bolt after 1-2years in a community school where they are not stakeholders!

        • Nicole F.

          I received 2 months of training.. I’m not sure where you got 5 weeks.. and just like any job you get out what you put in right?

          • Chippy

            Wow, you received 3 weeks of additional instruction you must be an awesome teacher. Nicole you work in area much much more needy than Newark, really? Is TFA in Syria?

          • Michelle

            Wow, two months huh? I did various internships throughout my bachelor’s program including a final 5 month internship. You don’t know what you don’t know, come back in ten years and you will see how silly you look.

          • Nicole S.

            Nicole F- I got 2 YEARS of training before I went into teaching. If you think it’s like any other job, and you can get by with a few weeks of training, you must be a lousy teacher.

          • Heath

            Nicole F – to suggest that it’s ok to lay off teachers who have dedicated their lives to educate children, in spite of the government’s failure to support those children or those teachers, is offensive. Typically, the TFA teachers and the transition-to-teaching teachers are awful. They work for lower wages because they, unlike traditionally trained teachers, get their student loans forgiven. Their careers are rather short-lived, as they leave teaching to take jobs in the private sector (one those loans are forgiven). Kinda’ makes you wonder what their motivation really is, doesn’t it?

            Think about the people who have established lives and careers….then consider how you’d feel if the Republican-backed reformers decided to run you out on a rail after all that you’ve done for kids.

            How many years have you taught, Sweetie?

      • Pat Valese

        Nicole F,
        Where do you live? In NJ? I doubt it because you wouldn’t be talking like this – perhaps you live with your parents, so you don’t need to worry about what you ‘make’. And from what you said – you expect to eventually grow in the field and be treated respectfully, that you’re consumed by the sole desire of changing these children’s lives – well guess what Nicole – we’ve ALL been there! And instead of two months training – we’ve had 5 years plus hundreds of professional hours. Every public school teacher in NJ stays up till 10 at night. Wake up Nicole, you’re just a pawn in the great game of the corporate greed to reduce teachers to nothing but their fellow Walmart workers. We worked hard in NJ to establish decent wages for our professionalism, for our doctorates, & masters. Unlike the private sector, we had to fight for every inch of our worth – and YOU Nicole will drag us right down. You’ll be part & parcel with the Christie agenda – the Koch agenda, the ALEC agenda – taking away our civil rights & reducing the nation to a third world country. YOU Nicole, need to check out data – not the bullshit ones they feed you – check out the success rates of Cerf, Anderson, Michelle Rhee, TFA – see how many children are saved & then check how much was profited. So again, Nicole – where do you come from?

      • catherine

        If you had a high IQ Nicloe, you would see the big picture here, Walmart as a backer??? Look how they treat their employees!! Yes, you are scab labor, a highly qualified teacher of 20 years, who has reached the top of the payscale after years of hard work and not the best pay, is outsted so that your two year scab labor can take over. You and teach for america are helping the rich get richer and assisting in the destruction of the middle class, congrats to you, get a clue

      • Maria

        Nicole,

        I don’t at all respond to ANY feed or thread. I know you have been receiving a lot of scrutiny based on your comment, and still after so many, you just simply don’t get it. I have no doubt that you will be such a great teacher. But to clarify (of which I hope you’ll get it this time) this situation is like working for retail. Someone who has been there for so long (experienced 5-15 years) is being replaced with new hires (who will undergo 2 months of training) because the company can’t keep paying him his salary. Now think about that… If you were the customer in this store, would you want to be helped by this veteran or by this novice?

        You just have a lot to learn. Just think about those times when you were new at a job and still after a couple of months you still feel like you’ve got a lot to learn. Teaching is no different. I have been teaching for 3 years now and I am incomparable to many of these veteran teachers. They deserve more – not only monetary but also with respect. This is pretty much a slap in their face. No degree will ever give you the years of experience they have.

        Walk a mile in their shoes before you make a comment like that.

        Thanks for listening.

    • catherine

      Exactly, this is the model for making schools just like walmarts (see joan whitlows articles), teach for america are union busting scabs

      • E.M.Runkle

        Reading some of these posts helps me understand more of the problems in public education. Educators are beginning to splinter off into factions that constantly squabble and accomplish nothing! Nicole, you did nothing that I wouldn’t have done if I needed a job! Call me a scab, but I have bills to pay and a family to feed; I will do what I need to do to get a job! Tension in education is at its highest point right now, but attacking anyone for wanting to work is not going to solve the problems! Having high ideals are wonderful, but the pay sucks! Big companies have been doing the same thing for years! And people wonder why there is no employer/employee loyalty anymore! Best wishes to you! Sometimes we do what we have to whether we like it or not! I live and work in a ‘right to work’ state; I don’t have anything against unions, but I have seen what happens when companies want to get rid of employees. They are gone, and no union can protect them. Look at all the schools across the country that have been shut down even though teachers have paid thousands of dollars in union fees! And here we are bashing each other instead of working together to focus on what is really important, the students! ;(

  1. Pingback: Newark: 700 Teachers May Be Laid Off and Replaced by TFA | Diane Ravitch's blog
  2. Jeff B7

    TFA receives a bounty aka kickback for every hire from its membership. Most are lousy teachers who leave ASAP. Thins is being done without regard to student achievement.
    Don’t shop at Wal-Mart!

    • Nicole F.

      Where is your data? What knowledge do you have about TFA? Walmart isn’t even who SPONSORS Teach for America. We go through a whole summer of UNPAID classes, supply all of our own classroom supplies, AND get paid way less then the people who were in these positions previous to us. On top of all that we have to deal with the individuals in the community who don’t want us there. You say we’re the problem? Maybe if you helped us to succeed your schools wouldn’t fail!

      Bob Braun: Why would you agree to get paid “way less than the people who were in these positions previous to us”? Don’t you see you are being manipulated and hurting other people? Why then would you expect anyone you replaced to be kind to you? I wouldn’t.

      • Nicole F.

        I see what the children are being taught and HOW they are being taught and I want to stop that. I do it for the kids, I have a masters degree but I don’t feel that just because I COULD make more money I have to! I feel that if I can change the lives of 30 students then thats payment enough! I still don’t see your facts/data/knowledge! Who am I hurting? If I don’t take the job theres plenty of people behind me that will! I know I’m a good teacher no matter who I work for! I expect to gain respect once people realize I’m there to TEACH and HELP kids. The politics aren’t my fault, but having this opportunity is something I’ll take!

        • Becky

          Yes, the politics are your fault when you support them by working for TFA. As well as your grammar. I have over 8 years of college education in the educational field. Any qualified, respectable, good, honest teacher will tell you that they did not know what they were doing the first few years. TFA is not a solution to our public education.

        • Math Genius

          Nicole, my friend has a Masters in social work – just like you – and she makes less than me. I’ve been working in Newark for several years now and make less now than when I started due to an increase in deductions. I thought it was pretty well known that social workers are paid about the same (or less than) teachers.

          Also, when faced with criticism, you should choose education as your weapon. Sarcasm and attitude won’t gain you respect. At least not mine.

        • catherine

          Nicole if you are such a great teacher, then why didn’t you go the traditional route??? TFA is garbage helping the rich get richer, and obvioulsy, you fell for all the recruiters bs, the data is out their, the turnover for tfa is two years, that does not build a community, the builds a pathway to cheap, fast labor, for an educated women, you are a dolt, hopefully you know what that word means

      • Kate

        Why in the world would you think anyone should HELP you succeed? Isn’t that what the TFA organization is supposed to do for it’s members? Wait until someone with less experience and expertise takes your job, and then tell me you want to HELP them. And enough with the “where’s your data” nonsense. I’m tired of hearing about soulless spreadsheets instead of the very real youngsters who need a good teacher, not another analysis!

        • Nicole F.

          I guess because I think that teachers are good people, but I suppose your town proves that wrong? I will help them! Thats the right thing to do! Maybe with a social work background I understand the need to help others achieve.. oh like a teacher does right? Or maybe thats not what your classroom does?

          • Kate

            I’m not sure why you feel the need to attack teachers who disagree with your opinions, but just to clarify… I think every teacher should be helping every other teacher in educating our children. And I DON’T mean help the experienced teachers to the door so we can replace them with cheaper labor.

            Again, you just aren’t getting the difference between your apparent situation of filling a needed vacancy and the situation in Newark, where the superintendent proposes firing experienced teachers (without cause) to replace them with TFA members.

          • Elaine Lombardi

            Nicole, while the vast majority of teachers I know are indeed “good people,” they are also professionals with multiple qualifications including education, experience, and professional licensure. It is sad that you believe these professionals should “take a pay cut then,” or that you are surprised (maybe indignant?) that they “…make way more then (sic) ” you do.

            Eight weeks of training? I’m in my eighth year of teaching after having spent over 20 years in the US military, and while this makes me qualified, it certainly doesn’t make me a better teacher than my colleagues with decades of experience under their belt.

            What is your plan after you complete your required two years of teaching? Do you think you will remain a teacher, or is it possible you believe that this two years, plus your MSW and ECE degrees, will be a steppingstone to the corporate life?

          • Clara

            You came in here with a hateful attitude, implying over and over that the existing teachers aren’t as interested in the students’ success as you are. Disgusting. I am not a teacher, but a parent and a former public school IT worker. I have seen what public school teachers have to deal with. I wouldn’t want someone with your hateful disposition teaching my kids.

          • Janice Accles

            There is something called reality. You need to understand you can not do something special and succeed where others have failed. Addressing poverty is the answer. Poverty and all it’s ramifications is the problem and can not be changed because you think you are a good teacher. You can teach and/or pontificate all you want but it will change nothing. Your degrees are worthless unless you can provide each child with three decent meals a day, a warm dry house, acceptable clothing and two parents who love them. You have no clue what you are talking about. Stay in teaching for 5 years. Just 5 in an inner city situation. Then reread the stuff you have written.

      • M.Ed.

        Nicole, real teachers go through a minimum of four YEARS of training. Not only is that unpaid, but it costs thousands of dollars in tuition. 5 weeks of training just doesn’t cut it.

      • ka

        Nicole,
        I retired from education a couple of years ago and have been approached to be part of TFA. It’s not for me.
        You say you went through a whole *summer* of unpaid classes, supply all of our own classroom supplies, AND get paid way less then the people who were in these positions previous to you. Big deal. That holds no water in support of letting go of so many teachers and replacing them, partially, with folks from TFA.
        ALL educational professionals went through “baptismal fires” to get where they are today. And with experience, comes increase in salary. You are not responsible for the politics of this awful situation, however …
        I (and everyone else who was called to the profession) went to school and PAID FOR my classes for FOUR years, and ANOTHER two for grad school AND continuing education credits through the years. In the last few years, CEs were supplemented.
        When I began my career in a small catholic school 35 years ago, I (and my colleagues) bought all my own supplies and didn’t have all the fancy manipulatives you kids have today. I MADE my own. Even when I transferred into a position in the public school system, I was STILL making my own materials. And, in BOTH schools, was making WAY less than others who were in the position before me. I was *given* all the jobs the veteran teachers didn’t want to do AND I was a SCIENCE teacher. More work, the worst schedules … it was simply the circle of life; a rite of passage … like medical interns.
        And I have professional colleagues who’ve had books, chairs, etc. thrown at them. They’ve been cursed at, knocked down stairs, etc. And they come back, EVERY day, to try to help their students. But no one seems to care about or take that into consideration … it’s all about identifying “bad” teachers, taking away tenure, breaking the union, and hiring cheaper, less experienced teachers.
        Generally speaking, as people advance in their careers and gain more expertise, their salaries increase. Even hairstylists are paid differently based on their level of expertise.
        You flippantly tell people to “take a pay cut” to do what’s necessary? Do educational consultants take a pay cut? Do administrators take a pay cut? Would you ask your veteran hairstylist to take a pay cut? Or your veteran doctor? Or your veteran fireman?
        I don’t normally participate in these discussions and won’t be drifting back here for answers or further comments. As long as all the focus is on just side of the teachers and money, NOTHING will change. It’s time … it’s long been time …. to start taking a look at the other side of the education coin: family life and emotional/psychological needs. Perhaps, with your degree, you can promote THAT aspect of development or inservice training for teachers and parents.
        Good luck with your quest. Know that we ALL had fire in our bellies just like you when we started working in a profession we were called to. You are no different and no better …. all “teachers” are being used equally as scapegoats.

      • E. Rat

        As a veteran teacher at a high-energy, high-trauma school, the need to consistently train itinerant, uncredentialed new teachers is an enormous drain on my time and emotional resources. Expecting teachers to help you “help” is offensive. We help you because we know how our students will suffer if we don’t. Demanding free training for your own benefit from your fellow educators is wrong.

    • Khalea webber

      These KIDS WILL BE IN THE SAME ENVIRONMENTS DOING THE SAME DAMN THINGS MAKING THE SAME DAMN DECISIONS NO MATTER WHO IS TEACHING THEM. They need to focus on making these kids everyday lives better. It’s not these teachers fault why these damn kids are failing. Stop ignoring the truth it STARTS AT HOME.

  3. Source1

    Now that the general job market is tight, it will be easy for TFA to recruit young, inexperienced people for teaching jobs in Newark. The TFA commitment to teach is for only two years. These young people will be on the first train out of Newark once they land another job, and a new batch of yong teachers will come in. There will be a constant churning of teaching staff.
    One question to the readers, ” How many of us would want a young, inexperienced doctor to perform the surgery we desperately need ?

    • Nicole F.

      Where does this doctor learn his skill to become a good surgeon? What chance are you giving these teachers? Is your city that horrible that you know we’ll all leave? TFA supports teachers in 45 different areas! Not just in Newark! You would rather see all of your schools fail then have bright innovative young people come in and try to help?

      • Kate

        I’d rather have teachers who planned to be teachers, rather than recent graduates who haven’t found a job in their chosen field. I’d rather the HELPING be extended to all teachers, and not just the TFA ones. And I’d rather not have all new teachers all the time. Every school needs a mix of young and veteran teachers – a school full of all new teachers isn’t very likely to overcome the tremendous problems of poverty as well as other social ills that are seen in urban schools. Sorry, dear, just being young isn’t enough.

      • Joe

        Cami Anderson is supposedly going to fire hundreds of teachers? I guess they already have too many teachers in Newark, an oversupply? Why would she fire hundreds of teachers only to replace them? Lots of questions? What will her version be? My version: she wants to bust the union and destroy collective bargaining rights.

      • Jill

        A surgeon gets his experience studying at the sides of people who already have many, many years of study an experience under their belts.
        Would you go to a surgeon who had originally studied to be an opthamologist, then had eight weeks of training in surgery?

      • Source1

        Nicole,
        Your thinking is priceless.
        Surgeons don’t practice on patients who need surgery. Likewise you should not practice on students who are in need of a sound education.
        Your reasoning demonstrates your inexperience and lack of understanding.
        By the way, we know TFA people will leave after a few years. Just look at the history…no secrets here.

      • Prof. Rebecca Williams

        Nicole,

        In addition to the fact that your English writing skills need great improvement (this should have been done before you even entered a classroom), you seem to be quite cavalier about the impact the potential layoffs of hundreds of Newark teachers. That is quite distressing. The hallmark of a good educator is compassion and concern for others, which includes one’s colleagues, as well as students and parents. What TFA does in 8 weeks (the training period) cannot compare to the many semesters of education courses and months of student teaching experience that true pedagogues amass to prepare for a career in teaching. Yes, you would be considered a scab if you took a job that was created by the firing of an experienced, strong, and committed teacher.

        • Steve Newman

          Well said, Prof. Williams! As someone who has spent 13 years at Temple helping to educate future secondary school English teachers–I’m in English, though, not the College of Ed–I find Nicole’s attitude even more appalling than her prose, even after making allowances for the informality of internet comment boards.

          Nicole, I hope that at least some of the well-reasoned replies to your ill-informed positions have made you reflect upon them–the first step in changing them. It’s what we call education. What seems painfully clear to me and many others on this board is that despite your admirable commitment to teaching under-served students, you have little to no idea of how the educational system works in the context of the communities they serve–or how that system is being warped and wrecked by people with blinkered ideologies about what ‘those kids’ need, including some TFA tyros eager to pad their resumes (as with teachers or any other group, they are hardly all angels). And teacher’s unions, for all the demonization they have endured, have been crucial in protecting the working conditions of teachers (which are the learning conditions of their students) and resisting administrative stupidities, which are legion. (Indeed, it is that resistance that has made them a target of would-be ‘reformers.’)

          I’ve been teaching for 20 years now at the post-secondary level, and it took me many years to develop a good, self-aware sense of how to teach. And while Temple students are hardly as entitled as many others, I haven’t had to deal with anything like the challenges that Newark’s kids and their teachers have to deal with. I hope that you can learn from the more experienced teachers around and develop the sort of humility that marks truly good teaching.

          It’s also more likely that your colleagues will have a better chance to learn from you if you don’t come in to such a sensitive situation with guns a-blazing. Especially since yours seem to be misfiring at the moment.

      • NJGS

        Nicole F., to answer your question asking if we want our students to fail rather than bring in bring new teachers. That is just the point. We do NOT want our students to fail, which is why we want to keep our veteran teachers, with their many years of experience and their teaching certifications from teaching schools.

        If we wanted to see our students fail, we wouldn’t be opposed to Teach for America people coming in with only a few weeks training and committing to only two years of teaching.

        We want career teachers teaching our students. Veteran teachers that have learned the ropes and can help their students because they know what is needed to give their students the assistance, encouragement, challenges, etc.

        You are correct that Teach for America is in many different locations and states, but just because they are there does not mean that they are the answer to education.

        If I may use this example, and please do not take this example the wrong way, we have rats in many inner city schools, should be just leave them there because they are there, or should we call an exterminator?

      • Wendy F

        You are insulting teachers every where. You are not going to come in to school like a white knight to save the day. The problems within the schools is not solely the fault of the teacher. If you are truly in the type of school you claim to be in, then you should have noticed by now that you cannot control what is happening beyond the walls of the classroom. You also cannot say that what is happening outside the classroom has no impact on what is happening inside the classroom. Teachers trained on the fly are not the answer to what is happening to the education of our children. Teachers with several years of training are also not the sole answer to the issues facing our education system. The answers we all seek are, unfortunately, solutions we alone do not have the capability of solving. The challenges that are facing are children are a variety of social problems.
        Teachers are not social workers, they are life changers. Teachers do not reach out and change the challenges of society, the reach out and challenge individual members of society to be better members of society. A teacher challenges one member of society at a time, in groups of students, in a classroom, within the walls of a school.
        The teacher is not to blame for what happens in society as a whole. When society instructs a child that education is not important, the teacher does not run from this challenge, but faces it. The teacher, however, is facing a tough uphill battle in winning this child over. The teacher cannot protect the child on their trips to and from school. Society must protect our child during their journey to and from the school house.
        Please do not assume you, the social worker, who has opted not to take on the social problems in which you were trained to do, can ride into a classroom, on your white horse, and change the direction of our schools. You will not be able to do it alone any more than those of us who have been working to better the lives of every individual we have come into contact with have been able to do, alone.
        I do not know what the answers are, however I do know that it is beyond the classroom and will take a great deal more the “teachers” with five to eight weeks of training who believe they ARE the answer.

  4. Ann Marie Finnen

    Shame on us if we don’t march in the streets of Newark over this. The school children of Newark (perhaps more than any other city) deserve experienced teachers, not TFA’s who have a total of 6 weeks of training. Thank you Mr. Braun for writing this and countless other posts. Every one of us reading them should be screaming to our neighbors, friends and government servants about the real motives, and the effects of turning our public schools over to the highest bidder.

    • Nicole F.

      Why do you “deserve” better teachers? How are you stepping up? How about coming in and helping the teachers you have? Obviously they won’t cut the good ones! Help them all succeed and as you say you won’t need us! I’d love to see you in the copy room running copies, helping find lesson plans, helping with fundraisers! I come home from my classroom and I’m up until 9-10pm trying to help my children succeed! So how DARE you call me a bad teacher! I’ve bought school supplies, backpacks, CLOTHES! How many of your teachers can say that? You may think TFA is horrible, but take a look around.. what you have OBVIOUSLY isn’t working!

      • Joe

        Nicole said: “Obviously they won’t cut the good ones!” Sure they will fire the good teachers, especially if they have been teaching for more than 20 years. If Anderson actually goes ahead and fires hundreds of teachers in the next few months, many great teachers will be fired because they are more experienced and more expensive teachers. It happened in New Orleans when they fired THOUSANDS of teachers after the Katrina disaster.

        • Jessica

          So Nicole you are saying that all of the hard working teachers who have busted their butts for years to help children and who have had great evaluations because they do an excellent job aren’t as good as a the replacement with no experience…. But they are young so that means they will do better?? Clearly you have no idea what you are talking about …

      • Shannon

        Nicole, you think staying at school well after hours, staying up late, buying things for your classroom and students is revolutionary? Then you have NO idea what those of is who have been teaching for years have been doing. I’ve been there and done that for years. I have made sacrifices for my students because I love them and what I do every day. It is a slap in the face for you to presume that what Ms. Anderson is doing in Newark is for the kids. It is a political move. Plain and simple. It’s great that you care about the kids and you enjoy teaching. I hope you stick with it. Don’t presume you know what veteran teachers know. You haven’t been through all the “latest reforms” we’ve been through while trying to do what we want to do – teach our students.

      • Elaine Lombardi

        Nicole, while I appreciate your… passion…, I believe you are terribly naive to think “…obviously they won’t replace the good ones.” They will replace the ones that cost the most money, which means they’ll replace experienced teachers who have EARNED a higher rate of pay. Replacing experienced teachers with inexperienced and grossly undertrained ones will only damage the schools more. It takes at least five years for a teacher to get his footing in a school and his classroom, to establish his own system of organization, and to learn to develop a rapport with colleagues, students and parents. TFA isn’t about building relationships, it’s about creating a gap and then filling it with wood putty, hoping it will hold the door together long enough to be able to sell the house.

      • Gina

        Nicole, you state that you buy school supplies, backpacks, and clothes for your students. you work till 9-10 at night to help your students. You then ask how many teachers are there that we know who do that. Guess what? Plenty. Myself. My colleagues in the Newark Public Schools. I have been doing such things for over 14 years. The difference between me and you? My livelihood is now on the line. That’s fair, right?

      • Becky

        I can say it, long BEFORE TFA. And these are the teachers that districts are trying to get to leave. I’ve worked in the high- need areas. I’ve brought breakfast to school for my kids. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars a year on school supplies, backpacks, coats, gloves, and hats. So get off your high horse thinking no one else gives a damn. During that time I also paid for myself to return to school and earn a Masters Degree in education, beyond my Bachelor’s Degree. I have worked diligently each year with kids, parents, and other teachers, and I deserve the respect of being treated as a professional. And I ought to e paid as one. No, I’m not willing to do my job for less. Do you think most doctors, lawyers, or dentists are willing to work harder each year for less? No. We are in the realm of education- the foundation of knowledge- and our profession deserves some respect. I do not expect 6-8 weeks of training to prepare me for any other type of licensed profession, and people who think that TFA participants are qualified teachers for their short stint in the classroom are sorely mistaken. You, my friend, are wearing rose colored classes.

      • NJGS

        Nicole F. I told myself I wasn’t going to respond again, but I need to. First of all please note that EVERY teacher I know, regardless of where they teach, uses their own money to purchase supplies for their students. Due to budget restrains, this year has been the most costly for me. I had to purchase pencils and composition books for my students because these items were not part of the school’s budget. I have purchased other items for my classroom. Charts, borders, games, etc. Things I need to make the classroom welcoming and the learning interesting. I also purchase books for my students so they can have books at home. I am encouraging reading and many of my families do not have books, so I am supplying them for my students.

        Please tell me in what other profession do the employees have to purchase pencils?

        As for purchasing clothing for students, I can show you receipts and I have witnesses to say that I, and many other teachers, have purchased clothing for their students. We do this because we know the families are strapped for money and the students need these items. Often I have taken the money I have budgeted for my own family to buy clothing and other supplies for my students. Thankfully, my family does not complain.

        As for staying up late, I can document many late nights correcting papers, preparing lesson plans, creating assessments, scoring papers, documenting items, filling out endless forms, and more. I’m not talking just 9 or 10 p.m., but I’m talking 2 and 3 a.m. and even all nighters.

        I share with my fellow teachers. I share my lesson plans, my assessments, my websites, everything, regardless of how many years experience they have or what program they came from.

        I have worked with Teach for America people. Most of these people have been very nice people. Some even decent teachers, but out of the many I have known, only three or four have remained in the district, with one moving up to administration and two others on their way to becoming an administrator.

        The issue isn’t really Teach for America people in general. The issue is in Newark our Superintendent is asking the state to waive the seniority rights, let go or fire existing teachers, and replacing them with Teach for America people. If there is a position, then why would the original experienced teacher be fired, only to be hired by a Teach for America teacher?

        We have an extensive law, TEACHNJ, that strongly supports an evaluation system. If a teacher is not doing his or her job, then the evaluation system will weed out this person. It takes four years before a teacher obtains tenure under this law. This is plenty of time to weed out poor performing teachers.

        The people that will be let go if this waiver is approved are not poor teachers, but rather teachers in the wrong school at the wrong time. I am one of these teachers. My school is slated to close, which means I will no longer have a position. I have always been rated highly in my evaluations. As a veteran teacher I should be able to go to another school that has an opening and be able to teach in that school. Instead, if this waiver is passed, I will be fired, and a Teach for America teacher will be hired instead.

        Experience does matter. I am a much better teacher today than I was when I first started to teach. I know not only more as far as the curriculum, but I know how to “read” my students. I know how to differentiate instruction. I know how to react or not react when a student is upset and curses me out or says something inappropriate or crawls on the floor or throws a chair.

        Eight weeks of training may seems like a lot to you, but in the field of education that is a workshop. I went to a traditional school where I was taught teaching curriculum classes. I student taught, similar to on-the-job training, like you get, but with a veteran teacher always by my side guiding me.

        In New Jersey we need to have continued professional development. I pay for these workshops myself. I share what I have learned with my colleagues.

        My experiences are similar to your experiences, except that I am a veteran teacher. I came into teaching planning on staying in this field for my career. I did not commit to just two years and then planned on moving on. I committed to a lifetime of working with my students.

        I also work in a high crime area where teachers walk to their cars or the buses in pairs. We watch out for each other. We watch out for our students and their families.

        So, please do not try and tell us that your job is harder than our job. Please do not tell us how hard you work, because all teachers work hard. Teaching is not a profession for the faint. Teaching is not a fill-in-the-dots profession. Professional teachers care about their students and should not have to worry about someone that is not committed to teaching taking their position because they will be paid less. Our students do not deserve a brand new teacher every year or every other year. They need some stability in their lives also.

    • Mr. Goodman

      Bro & Sis of Newark I greet u all in peace. I live in New Brunswick,NJ and have family, friends in born and raised in Newark and wonderful childhood memories of Newark. I am a recent former two term democratic committeeman who represented the 4th ward district 1 in my city. However I learned very quickly who controls what and sets the agenda and for whom. Before politics community service has always been in my blood and a priority for me to the black community.

      Let me say in total support of the larger picture and the political smoke and mirrors they play on us. They are privatizing Newark for profit for there own people at the expense of black people plain and simple. The corporate interest that control both political parties must use the same language that where here to save u or help u, but lets call it urban redevelopment, NCLB, SES, TFA, etc which clearly have not proved successful if the public schools are still failing after yrs of federal, state, county or municipal government funding or intrusion, but has merely provided more opportunities to exploit public tax dollars at the expense of the children and property owners who must shoulder the tax bill.

      Now when u destroy the unions, the workers have no protection or leverage against privatizing for profit. Then u add the political corruption layer of who will get the contracts, who will own and build the charter schools and receive the money from construction contracts, attorney’s, real estate, consulting firms, etc. then from the DOE? Who are the SES Providers in your district and receiving all the money for your children? How many black own business will benefit from these actions or even sit at the table discussion? How many black owned businesses are currently benefiting from the state and federal grants from Sage the states online grant system for the City of Newark? Black family this is about money millions of dollars that they want to redirect to themselves and others at your expense and your children’s expense.

      Then u add the kickbacks, the donations, the political support dollars etc the jobs, the political appointments etc. You must do everything possible to block Ms. Anderson’s plans, or Christie’s plans to use Newark as a model of gentrification and take her from Black People period. This was hidden racism and has been since the state takeover. If the children are failing its not them who are failing its the administration, the school model, and the system that is failing. More money will not fix it and definitely not young inexperienced teachers using our children as a stop over or pilot training program then moving on to greener pastures. New Brunswick is now predominately Hispanic, but the city is still controlled by whites who of course have the highest six figure salaries in the state, but failing schools and no up roar. Why is that? One answer Politics. What the hell do they care if our children fail. They don’t live in our communities nor have there kids attended these schools. They work in our city or communities then leave and drive elsewhere then talk about how bad it is where we live. How fast would those failing schools be improved, buildings repaired, teachers be if white school children had to attend these same schools. How much crime would there be in the community if they lived among us, how fast would the state act with white concerns if there children were in failing schools?

      Family we are watching and standing with you, and supporting Baraka, but Baraka can’t do anything cause he has no control, its whats behind the scenes the system of politics you must change, so let us not forget its not the individual that’s the solution nor the problem, its the system, and its those who draft the policies is where our fight and enemy lies. We must also take more responsibility to due for self and go back to our ancestors principals of self teaching our children at home or in the community like the 60′s, like the Tuskegee’s and less dependency on any government that does not have our best interest in mind. You must control Newark’s Politics family to take back Newark, and its not in supporting either party, Its forming a new political party that serves your interest. Both Democrats & Republicans are one in the same and controlled by the same corporate dollars in the country. If the Tea Party can do it, so can we. This influence will make them respond to the needs of our community. Control the politics, you then control the money and where it goes and who gets it, and thus who benefits from it. Lastly don’t let them use u to turn on each other during this fight, cause its a distraction and tactic they use. File the injunction to block the firing of your teachers, block Walmart and boycott them out of your business. this is the corporate interest and influence I refer too. Stay strong in the struggle. Hotep!!!!

  5. Tony

    This is racism! It is public policy aimed at selling progress at the expense of total destruction of newark’s political economy. Lets not be fooled. I grew up in newark during a time when Italian and Irish children of immigrants were good enough to educate newark’s children. Now that the city has more teachers of color and magically they are not good enough. empirically teachers of color and teachers from teaching programs are more effective than any two year teacher from Harvard who does not have grit nor resiliency. Newark teachers have the grit and resiliency necessary to cope with newark’s problems. The problem in newark is not teachers but corruption and debasing of words and ideas. Yes parents want better schools. parents want schools that are wellfunded and are able to provide the extras that rich schools can do with ease. Yes, the glossy one newark announcement that was mailed out personifies this corruption. There is not enough money for kids but there is enough money for fliers and posters on buses. There is not enough money at a school but there is enough money to turn it into three charters schools with more layers of management. There are bad teachers but we will add a bunch of new teachers which I hate to say are bad teachers especially if they don’t know the community, never taught, and their only connection to schools is their affluent background.

  6. ArtsHighLoner

    As a teacher at Arts High School, I work with peers whose heads are completely in the sand. When I even attempt to bring up these issues in private or at meetings, I’m screamed at, called “toxic” and put down. Meanwhile we’re all slowly being driven down in a torrent of endless paperwork meant for administrators who are interested in securing their own jobs.

    Highly qualified teachers no longer teach but instead spend hours behind computers in front of students in clear need of quality instruction and mentoring.

    I walk the halls now, once an honored educator, only to be passed by other teachers who refuse to speak to me, not because they dislike me but abhor my message. My own administrators, who once praised me to the skies at faculty meetings, no longer respond to my emails, fill my office box with endless write-ups and treat me with disdain. Our school, once the finest in New Jersey, is fast deteriorating with misdirected anger and a flattening of morale. I have never, in my entire career, ever worked for a district that was in the process of institutional suicide…until now…

  7. Lev D. Zilbermints

    This is BS. The new hires will not have the experience to teach that the current teachers have. If Cami Anderson continues with her asinine scheme, I prophesy it will adversely affect Newark Public Schools.

    It is time for demonstrations, sit-ins and sleep-ins, as was done in the 1960s and the early 1970s. Time to show Anderson the door and take back local control of our schools.

  8. Mike Franks

    Wal-Mart gas been and continues ti be anti-union. Furthermore, the Waltons are not genuinely interested in the well-being of people in society but rather interested in establishing and maintaining slave labor.

      • Nicole F.

        Oh they gave a grant! SO since I’ll provide my new students with clothing, school supplies, and food… That makes me their parents?

        • Becca Field

          Nicole, You are certainly vociferous in your opinions. Does not make you well educated in the world of corporate education reform or right. Learn more about what TFA does, how their teachers rate overall, where the Walmart money goes, along with the Broad money, maybe pick up a copy of Diane Ravitch’s latest book. You may be personally committed to teaching and an exception to the TFA rule, but we are talking about systems and districts – not individual people. Stop taking this personally, and attacking, and think about the systems at work. Newark is being dismantled by a number of forces including getting rid of hard working, dedicated teachers. Do not defend the system that is doing that here, please.

          • bob

            Listen to all this noise. The Republican Governors Assoc. are the problem. The state will require an exit test for every approved course. Guess who will prepare and administer the tests? Cerf has resigned to run a testing corporation. In New Jersey it is a way for political cronies to get some of that abbot district money.
            Charter schools are being closed to be reopened by politically connected individuals. Get off your blinders people. Wake up!!!!!

        • What do you know?

          Nicole,
          Many veteran teachers have bought their students clothing as well as holiday gifts. We would not have school supplies if we did not buy them ourselves. Most of us have our own families and children to support and yet we spend countless amounts of money and time for out students. We do it out of love, not pity. When you have invested yourself in a community for years you will learn the difference.
          Teachers in these urban districts are some of the best around! Do you know how easy it is to create a paper trail of ineffectiveness for a teacher that does not fit into your budget? People who have dedicated their lives to teach where many would never step foot should be given the respect they are due. Not fired because they cost too much. Teachers at the top of the pay scale dedicated many years at mediocre salaries to get where they are. Stay in education long enough and you will see how you were once a stellar teacher and after your salary goes up you are all of a sudden “ineffective”.

  9. Elaine Lombardi

    Newark: your children deserve better. You, the community deserve better. Do not fall down the TFA trap. TFA recruits have ZERO investment into your schools and your community; they commit to two years just to have a few juicy lines on their resume before they retreat back into the boardrooms of corporate America. This plan will send 700 committed educators away and replace them with young, inexperienced kids who are using your children as a springboard to corporate success. You all deserve better.

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  11. willie

    Teach for America was created to solve the problem of teacher shortages in urban areas. How convenient it must be to have a former director of TFA create the shortage

    • Becca Field

      exactly – manufacture the crisis and then offer a solution that benefits one’s own interests. Look at Cerf – creating a desperate need for technology to administer PARCC tests and now leaves to place that will supply them. Anderson came from TFA – any bets where she goes after she is done dismantling Newark?

  12. Newarkbluesman

    Cerf is the most conflicted Commissioner in our history.We intend to form a Cerf watchdog group that will monitor any business transaction he makes in New Jersey.He will be a target of our group.No business in New Jersey

  13. Joe

    Has an “official” reason or excuse for firing hundreds of teachers been given or hinted at yet? After the disaster of Katrina, thousands of New Orleans teachers were fired, clearing the way for the charterization of New Orleans schools. What’s the Cami Anderson excuse for firing all these teachers? Obviously the real reason is to bust the union, destroy tenure, seniority and LIFO. Look for top union leaders to be fired.

  14. Brie Monahan

    To the school communities in Newark–the teachers and staff, the students and families: sending solidarity from the Twin Cities, MN. Alfie Kohn just spoke here about the need to publicize what amazing teaching and learning look like, as a strategy to prevent its replacement by rote curriculums for test prep.

    Many of my college friends face the choice of going into Teach for America. They are bright, ambitious people whose talents are being put to unwholesome use. To those considering TFA: ask some hard questions. Whose voice is missing from the TFA story? What is the long-term effect on children of having teachers come and go every two years? What is the long-term effect on the school community? Other volunteer organizations might be more wholly beneficial in the communities they serve, and in how they delegate your efforts.

  15. Experienced teacher

    Nicole F, You made several grammatical mistakes in your posts. Take some refresher courses in English before starting a teaching job. Having the degree does not make a great teacher. Teaching is a talent and a calling.

    • Nicole F.

      Your right. I was typing fast. We all make mistakes though right? Unfortunately I can not go back and correct. I’m sorry that I’m working on other things while I defend something I firmly believe in.

      • Elisabeth

        You know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, right? You just proved the previous point about your poor grammar skills.

  16. Trillium

    The hidden driver of privatization in all nations that are signatory to it is the WTO services agreement, or “GATS”. Understanding GATS is the key to understanding the privatization of public services in the US and in other signatory nations. GATS is the real reason we can’t keep public education, healthcare, water, postal service, etc. without changing our WTO committments and trade strategies.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=“GATS”+”k-12″

  17. Jill

    “If your the cream of the crop…”

    It should be “you’re”. As in “you are”. What are your teaching qualifications, again?

  18. Flynnie

    Nicole F – as per your response posted Feb 23, 11:34 am:
    How are we stepping up? In hundreds of ways, as many of us have been doing for years. How dare you question the dedication of experienced teachers! How dare you assume you’re better! And if you truly believe they will not cut the good teachers, then you are more than naive; you are foolish. And that list of things you do? Those are things I have been doing for OVER TWENTY YEARS in an urban district. You are not better than me; you are saving no one; you are helping to destroy the backbone of the schools; you are deluded and, I repeat, you are no better than me or any of my colleagues. You are a scab.

    How dare you!

  19. Pingback: Cami Anderson: Visionary Or Vulture?: One Newark Plan Should Be Expanded | Blind Noise
  20. Debra

    Nicole, if you had an education degree why would you work for TFA?? I am guessing it is for the chance for advancement through TFA alumni. I doubt you will teach for much longer. And you should know that as a parent , there is no way I would allow my child to be in a TFA classroom. I checked the TFA application, it states 5 weeks of training, not 2 months which still can compare to a 4 year degree in education. TFA is in business to put their alumni in places of authority in education to continue their business. Wendy Kopp is a millionaire. She is in this for the $ and prestige, not to help children. Children deserve a highly qualified, licensed teacher that stays in the classroom for many years, not leaving after 2 years for a higher paying job!

  21. Kelly

    Nicole, you are being a bit naive. I’ve known, worked with and was in graduate school with several TFA recruits. Some of which became excellent teachers. You say the mission of TFA is to go into areas of “shortage” to “help”. Read this article again, there is no shortage of teachers in Newark. The superintendent is looking to fire highly qualified, experienced teachers because they have put their time, money, energy and love into teaching for 10,15, 20 years and are now higher on the pay scale. Firing these teachers for NO GOOD REASON, but to replace them with cheaper labor (and face it, that’s how the administration is looking at you) is a travesty.
    No first year teacher comes into a classroom and is highly effective…it doesn’t happen. You know why? You need experience that cannot be gained through study or theory. The TFA recruits I mentioned earlier became great teachers…after a few years. The sad part is, only one remains in education today (and he is awesome). The TFA trainees that Newark desires to bring in will require a few years before they too can become effective educators. But in those few years, Newark will lower the amount spent on salaries. That’s the plan. The administration has no concern for the children getting caught up in all this. Nor do they care about the teachers lives they are ruining…some of whom may be 5 years away from being able to retire. They are not bad or ineffective teachers. They stay up late nights planning awesome lessons, spend their own money on school supplies for their kids, are emotionally invested in the well being and education of each and every one of their students…and have been doing this relentlessly for many years because they are TEACHERS. Don’t you see? You are being manipulated and used at the cost of another person’s livelihood. The person you might be replacing could be your mother or father or aunt…who will be trying to support their family from the unemployment line after being a loyal, dedicated employee for many years.
    I am not disputing your competence or good intentions…but you are misguided. If you are a true educator, you will be able to step back and look at what is going on in education nationally to recognize the trend and the connections. This is about money and power for TFA, Government, and very wealthy private corporations and investors. You, my dear, are a pawn. As are all teachers these days. The questions are: Do you care about yourself and your advancement only? Does your conscience bother you about displacing another hard working human being who probably has a family to support? Do you REALLY care about the direction of education in this country?
    These are reflective questions that I truly hope all TFA recruits take the time to ponder. Your actions will affect many, many lives. The effects could be for the better or they could make many lives devastatingly worse.

  22. Pingback: Newark: 700 Teachers May Be Laid Off and Replaced by TFA | Educational Policy Information
  23. liz brown

    they’d to the Governor. Oh no, wait. Appeal to the Dept of Ed and the President. I realize the Feds like privatization and union busting, but I think mortally hurting Christie so he doesn’t take the White House may be your only chance.

  24. TCliff

    Nicole, it may be fine for you at this time in your life to accept being paid less, but IF you decide to stay and make this a career and start a family, you may find that small amount is not enough. And IF you should decide to stay longer and make a career out of this, I truly hope you are not put in the same position as you are putting other more experienced teachers with families, and having your job and earned experience replaced by the newer and cheaper model of a teacher. What comes round goes round, Nicole. Karma has a way of biting back!

  25. Pingback: It’s time for “Match That Education Reformer to a Shakespearean Villain: Part 3!” Cami Anderson as King Lear’s Goneril | teacherbiz
  26. Theresa P

    Oh Nicole, I’m guessing that you are in YOUR first year of teaching and are just so excited to be doing it as you couldn’t find a job as a social worker. Congratulations, would you like a medal or a monument built for all of YOUR hard work?? Clearly, you know nothing about Newark and nor do you care. I would love to know where you teach as I’m sure many other people would. Buying supplies, clothes and spending countless hours on paperwork is the world of teaching. WELCOME! Do you think that Newark teachers have not been robbed or threatened? You like to reference someone who had been attacked for their laptop or a teacher who needs to be walked to their car at night. Do you think this does not happen in Newark? Do you think that children have not stolen from us? Physically attacked us? We have been there plenty of times before. Not only do we have parents who are active gang members but we teach active gang members on a daily basis because we CARE and hope for a better and brighter future for them. I would love to see where you are in two years. See if you were able to deal with the real pressure of teaching like many of us have for much longer than you have. I would also love for you to go back to that influential teacher that you had and tell them that you are replacing them because you are cheap…..because that is exactly what you are. Wake up girl and welcome to the world of education. Put YOUR little violin away and suck it up. Get a tissue and wipe YOUR tears. You are simply being a teacher so nobody cares about YOUR woes or YOUR dollar store supplies.

    Sincerely,
    A teacher who spent 5 years in college studying for her career.

    A teacher who has been there done that.

    A teacher with 8 years more experience that you will probably ever see.

    A teacher who has bought clothes and supplies for hundreds of students.

    A teacher that you may possibly replace for no good reason.

    P.S. I hope the door hits you and the rest of the TFA cronies on the way out!

    • Jay

      Outstanding Theresa, Outstanding!!! I love how people like Nicole think just because we’ve been teaching for 15-25 years that we don’t care and are dead wood. I still come to the job with the same vigor that I had when I first started. Time will only “teach” these young skulls of mush (TFAers) about the realities of education.

  27. TFA Mom

    I’m a Newark teacher as well as the mother of a TFA teacher. I have actually learned a lot from TFA teachers. Yes, there is a turnover rate, but there is also a new teacher turnover rate. The problem is not TFA teachers. They get the same starting salary as any new teacher with no experience. The problem is Cami Anderson. How is it possible that only one person can make every decision regarding NPS?

  28. Dal

    To Experienced Teachers: Please stop going back & forth with TFAers about what’s going on in this “education reform”. It’s totally obvious they have absolutely no idea what’s REALLY going on with this movement. They have no idea that we, experienced teachers, have our students best interest at heart! They have no idea that we too have purchased classroom/student supplies! That we too have purchased backpacks, clothes, breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. for our students! That we too have paid for athletic insurance, uniforms, etc! That we too have transported students home just so they could participate in after school activities! That we too have gone on home visits to show our students and their families how much we really care! They just have no idea, and no matter what you say to them, they still will have no idea! Why? Because they believe in the notion that our schools have “failed” based on the Data from a “TEST”. So please stop getting yourselves caught up with going back and forth with TFAers or anyone else for that matter. They’re really just innocent victims who believe whole-heartedly in what has been sold to them by corporate America (TFA). They have no idea that what is being done to us will also be done to them after they teach for 15 to 25 years and build their salary over years of experience. It’s one of those situations where you can’t tell them; they just have to experience it for themselves. So stop dealing with TFAers who think they’re saving our schools from something. Let’s just stick together and fight our own battle. I have faith that everything will work out!

  29. willie

    If this is all about placing better teachers in the classroom, then why did Ms Anderson LIE about the first 80 or so teachers placed into the EWPS pool? She tried to convince State Senator Ruiz that she found all of these terrible teachers who should be removed , but seniority rules prevented her from doing so. I’m glad that the Senator checked the facts for herself and kept seniority rights intact when she found that non of these teachers were ineffective. In fact, they all had satisfactory ratings.She saved the state from an age discrimination class action law suit when she found that they all were senior teachers with 25 plus years of service .

  30. teachermahn

    Nicole – congrats on working in the education profession. I am glad you’re here. You obviously aren’t going to be recruited by TFA for Newark as you are already teaching. I worked 3 years as a substitute in my district. I double majored in early childhood and elementary education. I took all kinds if tests to prove I could do the job. Did I mention I substitute taught for 3 years. I didn’t get my job because of my resume. I earned my job in the trenches. Did I mention I substitute taught for 3 years before I finally was offered a position, based on my work ethic and ability, not to mention a 55% increase in LAL test scores and 45% increase in math test scores. My job is not secure yet. I may be fired/denied a contract at any time. You may not feel you are a scab. I personally don’t like that word. So I commend you for securing a position in teaching, but it’s tough for the rest of us who went to college to do a profession we love. I fought for my country and as a veteran I have had to fight for my teaching job. You too will be replaced Nicole. But I wish you and your students all the best success. You also must understand that with the good is bad. Do not make generalizations about teachers. The teachers that are in it for summer breaks and retirement benefits are not reading this and responding. We are the cream of the crop and feel attacked. GOD BLESS YOU!

  31. ron

    This is unfair to almost everyone involved: the students, the teachers getting laid off and even the TFA recruits who merely want to teach and have no desire to be participants in a labor situation especially as scabs.

  32. Anthony

    This is fiction. I posted the following comment on Diane Ravitch’s blog:

    Anonymous “union sources” are cited throughout this post–I know I don’t have Mr. Braun’s 50 years of journalism experience, but anonymous sources are supposed to be a last resort, and anyone with any journalism background knows that they’re to be used sparingly; this piece is built on a foundation of anonymous sourcing and poor research. For one, he shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how TFA works. He claims that his source says that 300 of these 700 new vacancies (completely unconfirmed, which he briefly mentions) will be filled by TFA corps members and then quotes the Walton Foundation website saying “that they will support the recruitment, training and support of nearly 370 Newark area teachers over the next two years.” Given how TFA operates, the math can be easily done. Current CMs in TFAs NJ region: ~210 (this includes not just Newark, but Passaic, Orange, Elizabeth, and other towns and cities). That means if the Walton Foundation supports “recruitment, training and support” for just one year, they are already accounting for ~200 of the 370 that have prompted Mr. Braun’s hysterics. If we add one more year to that hypothetical timeline, that means the support and training of one additional cohort (~100 CMs) and the recruitment of the following cohort (~100). In reality, it’s more like ~400 total over two years. Note that this is without the net gain of a single TFA “slot.” There is no flood of 300 new TFA recruits ready to storm the gates, no almost-doubling of the incoming corps size. Translation of the quote Mr. Braun has pulled from the Walton Foundation website: The Walton Foundation will be donating to TFA to support its existing operations in NJ.

    My conclusion? Ignorance of how exactly TFA works either on the part of Mr. Braun or on the part of his “union sources.” Another possibility, given Mr. Braun’s position as the Baraka campaign’s (barely) unofficial spokesperson, is that he’s taking an opportunity to score some easy points for his candidate.

    Bob Braun: It is true anonymous sources are cited, although not throughout. I guess you think that is an innovation in journalism. In any event, you’d have to be working in Newark to understand why, but I will give you an example–five principals were suspended for publicly speaking about the impact of the “One Newark” plan. More to the point, I offered the spokesman for the Newark schools the opportunity to confirm or deny my story. As is obvious from my story, he didn’t deny it and, where I’m from, a failure to deny is significant. I admit he sent an e-mail in which he said I was “a bit off” about the issue of replacement. He wrote: “While declining enrollment will eventually force us to cut our total number of teaching positions, we still face shortages in certain hard-to-staff subject areas, like bilingual and special education. this is a fact. We will need to hire new teachers who are qualified to teach these subject areas regardless of whether we have to eventually lay off any teachers. As far as the ATF (TFA) reference, they have been extremely helpful in addressing this hard to staff positions.” You may see it differently, but I hardly see that as a denial–and not from far away Illinois but here in Newark. He didn’t say there wouldn’t be replacements, but that the newly hired teachers would be hired for areas of shortage. I suppose one could argue about whether artificially caused shortages are, in fact, shortages. I guess we will have to wait further confirmation (or denial). As for my “position” as the Baraka campaign’s “(barely) unofficial spokesperson,” you should read me more regularly and you will find I have called out Mr. Baraka for his naivete about dealing with charters and other issues of privatization. I have not endorsed him, and will not endorse him (I won’t endorse anyone), but I have said his defeat would be read as the voters’ acceptance of the policies of state superintendent Cami Anderson, a former TFA executive, and Chris Christie, a governor who said publicly the people of Newark have no say in how their schools are operated. I suggest you review the sort of people who are financing his rival’s campaign.

  33. Pingback: Weekend News Roundup & Open Thread for Feb. 22-23, 2014 - United Americans
  34. P. Grunther

    I say thank you Nicole F. for pissing off so many teachers. We need to feel anger about what is being done in Newark and if naive Nicole has to take the brunt of that anger (and she kept coming back for more so I guess she can take care of herself), then so be it. But now we have to channel that anger effectively: please Newark teachers’ union, organize protests where we can all come out and express our anger and feel like we’re DOING something to thwart Anderson and Christie’s plans for Newark public schools. We owe it to Newark’s children and families and we owe it to ourselves to fight this in the most effective ways possible. I am feeling frustrated at not having been called down to Newark already (I don’t live in Newark but I am in Essex County, close by and available to come and I will bring people with me!). If we get people out into the streets protesting, we’re more likely to get national coverage and as happened in Chicago, that can be a huge factor in successfully fighting off this type of situation. People outside NJ are hungry for news about Christie so let’s take advantage of that and get out there to “smear” him the way he has smeared teachers!

  35. bill

    Nicole is not the enemy. For TFA to work, and especially for it to work in Newark, those of us who have been teaching for a long time should be the mentors of those introduced to the profession. It is difficult to succeed in our city schools, so let’s get the older, experienced teachers to collaborate with the new, energetic ones.
    Try two teachers in every room.

  36. Pingback: Will chaos be good for the children of Newark? | EcoSchools
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  38. MICHAEL Z MURPHY

    If the Walmart Corporation want to do so much good for children, it ought to pay the parents of those children a living wage which would permit those parents to give their children a language/culturally rich life experience pre-school and with the school experience. Children need that kind of enrichment. Poor children generally don’t receive that. Walmart, of course, can write off as a tax deduction everything cent they funnel into their own foundation. At even a cursory examination it is obvious this is a profound conflict of interest. It also means all other citizens including the Walmart work poor have a resulting higher tax burdon. Thanks Walmart. You are well on your way to creating a ruling class, an oligarchy that will triumph over the servant class poor — those people who will need to work two jobs and won’t have medical insurance, and thus will not have time to keep an eye on what Walmart is doing. this is nothing more than an external management style more evil than No Child Left Behind every was.

  39. LVS

    Let’s see if Nicole could use her TFA credentials in Morris County or any other suburban town. They would toss her application in the file. Don’t kid yourself young lady……

  40. Randall Sisk

    I have no bias or preference other than union’s appear to be childish in calling people willing to work scabs. Then top that with unions striking in the first place, teachers are paid above average salaries yet blackmail the tax base by threatening a strike for more pay and benefits. In this economy if someone wants to gamble with their job let them learn the hard way there are people willing to take it.

    • LVS

      Teachers aren’t allowed to strike in NJ. Unions built the middle class in this country. If working for slave wages is fine with you then go right ahead.

  41. Jet

    Overpaid….. Please do not believe the hype! When salaries are reported to show the average in a district do not forget that includes the highly paid administration! $100,000+++

    I’ve been teaching for 16 years in public school and make $51,500!
    Not so overpaid for a college education now, is it?

  42. Gemar Mills

    I have yet to see a TFA educator come to our district and stay or attempt to build a teaching career in our schools. Many come and reap the benefits and then leave the district once they have exhausted the benefits from TFA. These teachers (TFA) are forced on us and we, as school leaders, are forced to hire them over talented teachers that are from the communities like Newark. We need teachers who will stay and help with the work we need to do and NOT abandon the young people after 2 or 3 years of having their student loans forgiven or whatever other benefits they receive.

    • Tamob

      Thank you for speaking up as one who knows and has TFA teachers thrust upon you. You are one brave administrator. I would love to come work in your school and bring my talents, experience, and dedication to a place where it would be appreciated.

  43. booklady

    Dear Ms Nicole,
    Your professors at your graduate school of social work did you a disservice by not advising you that a professional values correct English usage when composing. “Typing fast” is not an excuse for mistakes including than/then; contractions; subject-verb agreement. I hope that you’re teaching gym rather than language arts; students deserve an impeccable role model.

  44. Michelle Hamlett

    OK…I can’t keep quiet! I teach in one of the hard to staff areas ( I’m certified in History, Special Education, and Psychology) I have two B.A.s and a Ed.M. I’m not exactly young at 44 but I resent the comment that we need “young and innovative teachers” to correct the wrongs in classrooms! I don’t need to be young to be innovative….sorry that’s ageism and a form of discrimination! Yes we all know that there are some mediocre teachers out there that teacher only for a paycheck with giving a thought to the young people who’s lives they impact. However that’s not to say that the majority of teachers are like that! I’m a single mom with a teenage son who’s also taking care of a parent with cancer. If I were teaching for the salary, well I’d have left years ago! I do it because I’m passionate about my subject which is history and I love my kids!!! My reward comes when a student comes to me and says “Miss, I need your help…” Or “Miss can I talk to you?” Or when a graduate comes back to see me on college break and tells me that I made a difference in their lives! I’m getting sick of teachers with a couple of years training coming in and thinking they know how to “fix” all the problems!

  45. ken

    People!! Understand this,, It is ALL about the Control and Money!
    Look around and see what has happen in our country over the past 30 years. Ronald Reagan helped start this when he dismissed the Air Traffic Controllers for going on Strike in 1981.. Since then Management of Big companies have been trying to bust Unions. Yes most Teachers are in a Union,, If Management can bust the Union and hire workers that will work for less money then then will have more profit (BONUSES) for themselves. They will also be able to control their workers making more and more demands of them for their time and work loads. Look around, see what has happen over the past 30 years. How many Companies have closed and moved off shore to become more “Profitable” ? The Middle class did not get to become the Middle class because the people that owned companies wanted to make it better for their workers. Look at Henry Ford,,he wanted you to work in His Factories, Live in His housing, and buy from His Store, Work 12- 14 hours seven days a week, while he raked in his millions profit and his workers were nothing more than “Paid Slaves” barely able to pay their rent and bills owed to the Ford Company. Until the Auto Industry became Unionized, and others followed, the middle class barely existed. The same is true with Teachers, the school systems is not interested in the Teachers themselves, but just want some one in the class room that will be there to meet the minimum requirements. If they can hire someone that will work for pennies of the dollar and put more money in their pockets, you better believe they will! The Middle class in America is falling behind, and actions like this is the reason why..

  46. Rod

    2 years of intense training at Rutgers, 13 years teaching experience, two masters! Then a bimbo named Nicole F showes up with minimal training and claim to have all the answers!

  47. Pingback: News Roundup & Open Thread for Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 - United Americans
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  50. Carol

    Nicole F – I’m a year and a half out from retirement, so I’ve been around long enough to know that all this talk of advanced degrees does NOT mean one is a good teacher. We have some teacher’s aides that are way better teachers than the actual “bonafide” teachers in our district. As to the barbed attacks, I’m embarrassed at the vicious ‘spell-check’ responses by my fellow teachers. Everyone makes those simple mistakes when typing, but we miss them in our rush to hit ‘send.’ I would not judge you by simple errors like that at all. I do like the idea that solutions are being presented to improve education where educators are hard to get. I do, however, agree with some of the comments about displacing teachers. I think of some of our great teachers (who are way up in the pay scale) and would be really upset if they were to be dumped to save money. The Educational System in this nation gets worse every year as politicians, fat-cat corporate “philanthropists” (Gates, Waltons, etc.), and greedy publishing companies all scramble to “fix” what’s “broken” in this system. If they would all leave design and administration of education to educators, we could stop wasting all the money we do on the educational campaigns of the moment (no child left behind, race to the top, etc.). And perhaps we could eliminate the excess of high-stakes testing and data collection. Experienced teachers review their students’ performance continually and adjust accordingly. The thing is, Nicole, your heart’s in the right place, you just working for the corporate and political machine. It will eat you up and toss you out when they find a cheaper solution to you – - and probably all of us. And that solution will probably be canned on-line tutorials created by, you guessed it, publishing companies! Wow, I can go on! :)

  51. Deborah Szmaida

    I have met college graduates that have participated in Teach For America. They were very honest about how ill-equipped they were in how to teach and about how to manage a classroom. They also left their teaching because the job was “too difficult”.

  52. Pingback: Internal Documents Reveal Charter Expansion, TFA Go Hand in Hand | Educational Policy Information
  53. DuBose

    TEACHERS!!! ALL OF US…”HOWEVEA WE GOT THE PRIVILEDGE”…WE ARE TEACHERS AND WE ARE NOT EACH OTHERS ENEMY. People who write or type in moments of passion misspell, use wrong grammer, you name it WE ALL do it…lil’stuff. UNITE TEACHERS!!! So busy insulting each other? That’s what the REAL Enemy wants, to divide and conquer. Pride goeth before the fall…sooo, swallow it and STAND as a United Front. We are Teachers…let’s TEACH them, not prove them right.

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  62. Jeb

    Educators in NJ I wish you the best. Reading this article and subsequent comments is getting me fired up for our fight this evening. Tonight in the Highline School District in Burien Washington, a small city south of Seattle, our school board is being presented with TFA by our Superintendent. TFA has not been effective in local districts around us, but with a promise of a waiver of TFA administrative fees our district is again sniffing at the coffers of “free” money. God help us all. We have speakers lined up and great attendance from our WABATs expected. Time to #resistTFA !

    Bob Braun: Let us know how you do. TFA has infested the highest ranks of the Newark school administration, from the superintendent on down.

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