It's an idea Superintendent Michael Hinojosa , and board Chairman Scott Sweeney brought it back for discussion at Wednesday's board work session.
South Cobb Patch has the , which appeared to leave the board split 4-3: East Cobb's Sweeney, South Cobb's David Morgan, West Cobb's Lynnda Eagle and Northeast/East Cobb's David Banks in favor of bringing in TFA, at least with certain caveats, and central Cobb's Alison Bartlett, North Cobb's Kathleen Angelucci and Smyrna's Tim Stultz against TFA.
The financial implications are minimal. The would pay the TFA teachers the same salaries as any entry-level teachers. The district also would pay $2,000 per teacher for training, but Hinojosa says he can raise that money from private sources.
Thursday's vote, in fact, is authorization for Hinojosa to begin that fundraising toward hiring 25 TFA teachers for the 2013-14 school year.
TFA takes recent, top-achieving college graduates who didn't study education, puts them through an intensive summer of training and sends them to low-income communities on a two-year commitment. The program typically works with urban and rural school districts that have trouble finding qualified teachers.
Connie Jackson, the president of the Cobb County Association of Educators, attacks the TFA proposal in the organization's weekly newsletter: "Teach for America is NOT needed in Cobb. Period, end of story."
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The program's mission is as much about turning elite college graduates into lifetime advocates for educational reform and advancement in poor areas as it is about immediately improving the quality of classroom education in those areas.
More than 80 percent of TFA corps members leave teaching within three years, a 2010 study found. For them, the TFA commitment is a form of service before they get on with their real careers.
That study, from the Education and the Public Interest Center and the Education Policy Research Unit, concluded that hiring TFA teachers makes sense only when the alternative is to hire uncertified and emergency teachers.
Morgan argues for TFA because it would give principals another tool to attack an achievement gap that has defied other solutions for years.
He also says it makes sense to let principals create the best teaching teams each year, regardless of seniority or training, just as sports teams bring in rookies each year to challenge and often replace veterans.
Bartlett, a former teacher, questions the logic of bringing in new teachers with alternative training at a time when the school district is eliminating hundreds of teaching jobs a year for budgetary reasons and wonders why only South Cobb is being discussed when achievement gaps exist across the county.