Democrats in California have a bad habit of trying to forcibly silence those that disagree with their views. It’s happening right now with Assembly Bill 221, a piece of proposed legislation that would prevent schools from hiring teachers from third party organizations for a period of less than five years.
This is a direct attack by the powerful teachers’ unions and their Democratic lackeys against a nonprofit called Teach for America (TFA). TFA takes ambitious and highly qualified young college graduates and puts them through a rigorous crash course in teaching and then positions them in struggling schools around the country. The teachers’ unions have taken offense to TFA because they threaten the union monopoly on education.
TFA has proved unwilling to join in recent teacher strikes, like the one in Oakland. The bill itself, AB 221, has removed any specific mention of TFA, but will prohibit the hiring of teachers through third party agencies who do not commit to at least five years of teaching and prohibit the hiring of teachers through third party agencies to schools that pull at least 40 percent of their student body from low-income families.
TFA has a great mission: to take young, educated people and introduce them to the field of teaching. Critics of the program claim that if the TFA teachers are so excellent then they would not be put in struggling schools, but the real question is why the teachers’ unions have left so many open spots in these schools if they care so much?
These schools are understaffed and TFA provides a viable solution to that problem. Needy children are being provided with a decent education and if “traditionally trained” teachers are supposedly superior to TFA teachers, then why aren’t they coming to work in these schools? The teachers’ unions would rather these children go uneducated than have a non-union teacher, which speaks volumes of their greed and corruption.
The teachers’ unions in California are trying to clean house, attacking not just the TFA, but charter schools too. About a third of TFA teachers teach in charter schools and union teachers claim that they bring harmful ideas about teaching from these charter schools into traditional education. Teachers’ unions should not be limiting educational options by attacking charter schools and private schools.
It’s up to each individual family to decide how they want their child to be educated. Trying to force the “traditional” model—with its ever-abundant failures—on everyone is a huge overreach from both the state government and the teachers’ unions. When we allow interest groups to create legislation targeting their opponents, it’s a perversion of our legislative system.
Legislation is not a weapon to be used by special interest groups against their competitors. AB 221 is a disgrace and the California Democrats should be ashamed for even considering this bill.