Teach For America (TFA), the darling of education reformers and politicians who want to starve public school districts of adequate funding and proper resources, has decided to close their New York City training office due to lack of available candidates who want to teach in the very difficult and unstable NYC classrooms. In announcing their closing, TFA stated that. “That means that we’re thinking really carefully about where we place, and we will probably get a little smaller next year.”
The TFA program like all other alternative and accredited teacher certification programs have seen a dramatic drop in candidates. Not surprising since the education reform organizations and their media allies have demonized the teaching profession and destabilized teaching as a profession to make a career in. How successful have the education reformers been in demonizing teachers? Very successful. In 2008, 62% of the teachers were satisfied in their job while in 2012 that number dropped to a dismal 39%. With tighter school budgets, higher class sizes, more stress, and high stakes Common Core testing linked to teacher evaluations, that number has probably dropped further.
While the recession is over, in education, the devastating effects of recession is still present as teachers retire or leave the profession, they are not replaced. In NYC 50% more teachers decided to retire than the union or City expected and an Arbitrator is helping to rearrange the contract. Moreover, budgets stay tight, in NYC as the school budgets have been reduced 14% from 2008 levels and still froze this year's budget at last year's level while the State has a 2% cap. Finally, the unrelenting attack on teachers continue, be it the Times magazine cover, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo's attack on the low ineffective rates of the teacher evaluation system he approved, or the Obama Administration's policies that threaten to stop federal money unless States impose a rigorous evaluation system, complete with "high stakes Common Core testing".
I predict in the next five years we will see widespread shortages of teachers, especially in New York where a much more stringent teacher certification test has been implemented, as few will go into a profession that is high stress, are disrespected, and receive inadequate pay. Its already starting to show up with the TFA announcement of its closing of their New York City office.