JC Penney, which has been a Progressive Hero for its support of LGBT Equality, has lost its way.
They have decided to side with Rahm Emanuel, Arne Duncan, and the corporate privatizers of Public Education:
Now, there have been a lot of diaries here talking about TFA and what they do and don't do for kids in schools. And about how they only do their two year stint and then become "experts" in "education reform" and set policy. Like Michelle Rhee.
Well, it turns out that TFA is also SCABS for America.
Chicago just laid off over 2000 teachers and support staff. And yet, they INCREASED the budget for TFA, and at least 100 of those laid off VETERAN teacher positions will go to these TFA people with only five weeks of "training".
“Some of the teachers could be replaced by Teach For America recruits, as the district has committed to more than doubling its investment in the TFA program that trains college graduates for five weeks then sends them into schools for two years at a time. The Board of Education voted to increase its payment to TFA from $600,000 to nearly $1.6 million, and to add up to 325 new TFA recruits to CPS classrooms, in addition to 270 second year “teacher interns”.Wendy Kopp talks a slick game with her "educational inequality" and "ensuring all children have access to a quality education", but we know it's all about the money.
TFA spokeswoman Becky O’Neill said about 200 of the new recruits are destined for charters, the rest to interview for openings in neighborhood schools.
Now what to do about it?
I think JC Penney has no clue about what TFA is really about. I think they've bought into the slick presentation by Ms. Kopp, and the endorsements by people like Rahm and Arne Duncan.
I think they need to be educated. The Badass Teachers are already on it, but I think they also need to hear from non-teachers. Like Kossacks, who supported them so well when they refused to dump Ellen DeGeneres and even made MORE ads using families with same sex parents.
Now, this particular link goes to a program from last year. However, JC Penney frequently uses the same partners in its "Round it up" campaigns. And it's a safe bet that TFA will be on the docket coming up soon.
So while they support worthy causes, TFA is NOT one of them. It's time to let them know that what they're supporting is the corporate takeover and destruction of public education. It's time to let them know that the group they're supporting is causing veteran Master Teachers to be fired and be replaced by people with only a 5 week training program.
Would you trust your life with a surgeon with only 5 weeks of training?
Then why would you trust your children with a teacher with only 5 weeks of training?
They need to know that there is a price to pay for supporting Teach For America.
J.C. Penney Company, Inc.
6501 Legacy Dr
Plano, TX 75024
Phone Number: (972) 431-1000
Fax Number: (972) 431-1362
CEO: Ronald B. Johnson
CFO: Kenneth H. Hannah
COO: Michael W. Kramer
jcpenney media relations
Kate Coultas and Daphne Avila
(972)431.3400 — firstname.lastname@example.org
It is, of course, your choice whether or not to boycott. After all, we rewarded them for doing the right thing, and they should be punished for doing the wrong thing. And I honestly think that they don't know the truth about TFA. But they definitely do need to hear our displeasure at their support of a SCAB organization like TFA.
A sample letter to send:
Your recent support of Teach for America is unacceptable. This is an organization that actively harms students by placing unqualified teachers in schools that would most benefit from experienced veteran teachers. This is an organization that poses the following serious problems:We are not going away. We will not be silent. We are Legion. And We are Badass.
1. It destroys the mentoring and relationship building that lifetime teachers provide.
2. It creates a revolving door teaching force that undermines the
role of schools as community institutions.
3. It reduces instruction to test prep since the 5 week training TFAers get makes raising test scores the highest priority and includes cookie cutter, "teacher proof" advice on class management that leaves little room for the creativity that great teachers employ.
No matter what TFA leaders say, its methods lead to the destruction of public education as we have known it in the United States, and the emergence of alternative model which makes the union teacher and the lifetime educator an endangered species. It's implementation will also sharply widen gaps between those in private schools and public schools, and between high income and moderate/ low income communities, in terms of creative thinking and exposure to the arts, reinforcing and intensifying the nation's status as one of the most economically stratified societies in the world.
The supporters and administration of this organization have been involved in multiple, well documented cheating and pay-for-play scandals in Washington D.C., Atlanta, and other districts. Urban, minority students are used as guinea pigs and stepping stones as these predominately white, middle-to-upper class recruits pad their résumés. JC Penney should really be more careful about the groups that they choose to support.