Las Vegas Sun

September 19, 2014

Currently: 96° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Legislature 2013:

Teach for America money clears Senate, but prospects in Assembly uncertain

A program to set aside $1 million a year to recruit 50 teachers for high-risk schools in Clark County easily passed the Senate 20-1 on Friday.

But one opponent says it may face trouble in the Assembly.

The money will be allocated to the nonprofit Teach for America, which says contributions from foundations, corporations and individuals will bring in an additional $4 million a year.

Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, who works for the Clark County School District, said the young teachers are enthusiastic and will be placed at low-performing schools.

But she said she was concerned about the preparation these teachers have. There is not enough time for them to be trained by professional teachers, said Woodhouse, D-Las Vegas.

She also raised concerns that the teachers spend their two-year stint in Nevada and then return to their home states.

The nonprofit corporation maintains these teachers enroll in the certification program through a UNLV partnership and take required methods coursework. And most of these teachers get their master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction from UNLV while teaching.

The lone no vote was cast by Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, who said the state shouldn’t be telling the Clark County School District to enter into this contract. The School District should be able to decide on its own whether to hire Teach for America teachers, he said.

“It’s not our job to be telling them what to do,” Segerblom said. “And there’s lots of arguments on how long they are there and whether to pay our teachers more in the at-risk schools.”

“I’ve heard there’s a big fight on the other side” in the Assembly, where Senate Bill 517 is being sent.

During testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, a representative of the teachers union opposed the bill, saying the money should be spent statewide for teacher development. The union backs Teach for America but says the money should be allocated to education in other programs.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 4 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. The People of Clark County should decide.
    In the name of money, Nevada Governor Sandoval has begun to tear apart Nevada's educational house, plank by plank, nail by nail. The incomes of hard working, dedicated employees are so stagnant and unliveable, that it has become intolerable for them to stay. Living costs have gone up, all the while employee incomes remain unchanged and stagnant. They have no spare change to spend to help local economies. All the while, favored industries native to Nevada contine to enjoy record profits, expansion to outside of Nevada, and immunity to increased taxation! So how is "No new taxes" working out for the little guy citizen of Nevada, pray tell?

    "But Sandoval has pledged to veto any new tax and has waged a campaign calling for improving education without tax increases." Enter Teach for America, or TFA.

    While Governor Sandoval's agenda pushes out fine, dedicated, effective teachers because he believes that they cost too much (especially when these teachers have worked DECADES, have their families here, contribute to local economies, and pay into the property tax revenue system), replacing them with Teach for America recruits, who are young, recent college graduates, who are NOT education majors, nor is it their passion to teach, only to have a quick job (2-3 years) while finding their "real" niche in the business world per their college degree, pad their resume, and build their personal networks. If you research TFA's Gary Rubenstein's blog, it will provide you with countless personal accounts of other TFA teachers on both sides of the fence, and YOU can draw your own conclusions about TFA.

    Governor Sandoval is using TFA as a tool to weaken and break up employee associations and unions, as well as push out employees who cost more over time. It will no longer be to any teacher's advantage to have higher degrees, as it will work against them, making them an eventual target for budgetary cuts in educational organizations. More teachers will make the jump to "administrative positions" in order to avoid the inevitable demise of their teaching career. This is happening NOW, as we watch the number of administrative positions soar, and numbers of "irreplaceable teachers" as former Superintendent Jones called them in his blog, become budgetary targets ran out of the organization. Education has come to embrace corporate models in their operation, and have treated good people harshly. Even the Nevada State Legislature has fallen prey to propagating the corporate attitudes and practices by supporting legislative that further disenfranchises educators and puts them at odds, or enemies of the State. Sad to see. Worse to live through.

    Food for thought.
    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  2. WHO benefits in this controversy?

    WHO really benefits?

    This Teach for America issue is a precursor of lobbyists pushing for vouchers, and the ultimate privatizing of education. Lines will be crossed with the voucher system in regards to the giving of taxpayer dollars in vouchers to schools of religious foundations, sects as specific ethnic groups and extremist groups as KKK. Taxpayer back vouchers opens the doors to abuse that is UNConstitutional. The lawyers will profit. Corporations will profit. Some, but not all, children will profit, depending IF viable employment opportunities will exist when the finish schooling.

    Please consider WHO benefits over the battle of State and Federal money. By chance, I had read the Winter 2011 article by Joanne Barkin, "Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools," found online at: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/g...

    Good parents will always support their children through schooling and life, and their children do better academically and socially, be it in a public or private school setting. Children in public schools may or may not have such support, and furthermore, public schools must, by law, enroll any child who walks through their doors (expulsion being the exception). That automatically puts the public school at a marked disadvantage, along with their whole student population. At-risk schools have been slammed to the floor with recent changes with higher standards with the CCSS (Common Core State Standards), and drastic budget cuts (due to the economic crisis of 2008). Public education answers to taxpayers, while corporate/private education answers to stockholders and clients.

    In Dissent, Joanne Barkin writes, "All children should have access to a good public school. And public schools should be run by officials who answer to the voters. Gates, Broad, and Walton answer to no one. Tax payers still fund more than 99 percent of the cost of K--12 education. Private foundations should not be setting public policy for them."
    See the Barkin interview on YOUTUBE: http://youtu.be/bat-ByGSWa8

    Another thing lacking in most news media releases are the national statistics that include ALL TFA corp members, not just those who "succeeded". If you are curious, read accounts from all sides, hosted by a former TFA recruiter, Gary Rubenstein on these links, for not only him, but many others who are still in TFA, former recruits, etc.:

    Teach for America's former teacher speaks out on: shedlightnow.blogspot.com/2013/05/repost-from-teach-for-ushighlights
    and http://garyrubenstein.teachforus.org/201...

    The Nevada State Lawmakers have little time, and should not be kicking the can down the road. Teachers are paying attention.

    My prayers to Senator Joyce Woodhouse and her family.
    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  3. Kevin Kloeker:

    It has nothing to do with you. It has something to do with the leadership. CCSD has a whole division whose sole function is recruitment, selection, and placement. There is also another division whose function is teacher development. These are functions that TFA is doing. TFA has the backing of some very rich individual. It does not need to bleed CCSD for the little money it now has.

    Why is the district giving money to TFA instead of ensuring the two aforementioned divisions do the jobs they are tasked to do? That is the huge problem in CCSD. There are many people who are paid a lot of money but who are ineffective. There are people who make up tasks for schools simply to make themselves appear relevant and busy. CCSD cannot seem to rid itself of these superfluous ineffective people so it looks outward for solutions. We pay consultants up to the yin yang, when there are people within the organization who should be doing the job for which consultants are paid a lot of money. If they cannot do the job, why are they still employed?

    I am sure you work hard, and so do a lot of CCSD teachers. The impression TFA blatantly claims that its teachers are better than CCSD teachers is unfair. We have far better teachers than any of your new ones, but nobody toots the horn for CCSD teachers because we are not a commodity to advertise. TFA teachers are. Instead, we get the blame for administrative mismanagement. Do you know the real reason Jones left? It was not because of his mother!

    Anyway, we are all pawns in this game the powers-that-be play. You are as much a pawn as CCSD teachers and children are. Do not feel so bad about the comments people make. They are simply expressing their opinions, but they do not know even an iota of truth.

    Education is a billion-dollar business and certain people are salivating for a piece of it, if not all. And, there's not a whole darn thing we, the pawns, can do about the game of thrones.

  4. Jessica:

    Funding is not TFA's goal. TFA simply wants in for later inroads into the CCSD system.

    It has the backing of very rich individuals wanting a piece of the billion-dollar industry.

    Your arguments are borne out of naivete. We are all pawns in this version of the Game of Thrones.