- Kathryn Patterson
Teach for America in Cobb County? A Mistake!
Earlier this week, I heard that the superintendent of Cobb County Schools, Michael Hinojosa, wanted to hire 50 teachers from the Teach for America program. The school board was supposed to vote on the issue at tonight's meeting. I felt shocked, to say the least. When I graduated from Vanderbilt, I seriously considered applying to Teach for America. It is a wonderful program that sends recent college graduates to school systems where no one wants to teach - mainly poor, inner city schools and poor, extremely rural schools. Notice the common factor of "poor". By sending teachers to these areas, Teach for America helps students who might not get an education otherwise. But we have teachers here in Cobb County. In fact, I recently read that we had thousands of applicants last year - thousands of people who are qualified teachers looking for a job. And Cobb County is one of the richest counties in metro Atlanta (I daresay in Georgia, but I don't know the facts for the rest of the state so I cannot make that statement with enough certainty.) So why is our superintendent looking to hire from Teach for America? To make matters worse, the Cobb County School Board announced at the last meeting that they would be removing teaching jobs due to budget cuts. (To read in between the lines here, they are firing teachers.) So how could anyone justify bringing in outside teachers to a county with enough money to hire teachers and a plethora of teacher applicants? And which poor school system will suffer even more because they won't have enough teachers? Happily, Superintendent Hinojosa pulled the vote for hiring teachers from Teach for America off this evening's agenda. I hope that the issue stays off the agenda, because no good can come from this course of action.