The AZ Senate Education Committee gave a due pass to a bill in February that would appropriate $5M to expand TFA from the 300 we currently have in the state to about 500. Why not just use the money to help our teaching professionals do their jobs better? TFA does not have a record of generally outperforming regular teachers, that is another myth the reformers are perputating.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Julian Vasquez Heilig, a scholar of education at the University of Texas, has noticed an interesting phenomenon: A growing number of TFA alumni are contradicting the company line. They know how hard the work is. They discover they are miracle-workers and they are not going to close the achievement gap. They don’t like being used to sell a false narrative. One even said it was time for TFA to close down.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, bloggers are asking why TFA wants the state to pay $5 million for their teachers, on top of a payment of $3,000 per teacher, each of whom will get a full salary. The question becomes pointed because TFA is rolling in hundreds of millions of dough while Louisiana’s public schools are under-funded.

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Perfect storm may threaten public schools

Thomas photo med_2Perfect storm may threaten public schools

This opinion is my own and does not represent that of the Oracle school board.

The share of tax dollars that winds up in Arizona classrooms has slid to the lowest level in 12 years primarily because education funding has declined significantly. In fact, Arizona leads the nation in cuts to per-pupil spending from 2008 to 2012 – almost 22 percent.

In the Oracle School District, this includes no increase in base level amount, no excess utilities funding, no building renewal funding, capital fund reductions, and reductions to maintenance and operations funding. It also includes a one-time $300,000 sweep from our cash balance and the removal of funding for all-day kindergarten.

This, while state Sen. Al Melvin claims the Arizona Legislature has “moved heaven and earth” to ensure education is properly funded.

So far, we’ve made it work. But cash reserves are dwindling, and tough decisions loom. Now we have the unfunded mandate of implementing Common Core Standards, and the potential effect of sequestration. Is a perfect storm looming?

Linda Thomas

Oracle school board member, Oracle