May 25 2012

Toto, we’re not in Kansas City anymore — because we were fired

Though TFA reports the recent attrition rate as 92% completing the first year and 91% completing the second, there are some regions that have much higher quit rates than others.

In Kansas City, they fired about 200 experienced teachers last year to make room for new TFA recruits.  The superintendent who made this decision, John Covington, resigned in August to take a job leading Detroit’s school system.  Left behind, were the first year TFA corps members who surely did not get the kind support from their co-workers that helped people like me survive my first year.

From an article I just read in the Kansas City Star, I’ve learned that Kansas City may have been the biggest disaster in the 2011-2012 school year for TFA.  They report that 32 out of 141 first year corps members, about 25%, will not be returning.  And that is just so far as there will surely be some who just haven’t decided if they are coming back next year yet.

Even more alarming is that, according to the article, “Twenty-seven out of 42 district teachers whose contracts were not renewed this spring were Teach for America teachers.”  If I am reading this correctly, “contracts were not renewed” essentially means they were fired after their first year.  Maybe I’m not understanding this right.  Someone from Kansas City, if you would comment and clarify, I’d appreciate it.

This reality definitely conflicts with the TFA promotional material.  In the 2010 TFA annual report, they present this impressive bar graph, indicating that a whopping 41% of first year corps members achieve at least 1.5 years of growth in one year.

As someone who is now a ‘veteran’ education (I’ve taught for 14 of the last 20 years), I find this graph absurd.  Now I’ll be the first to admit that TFA teachers who make it though the first year generally have successful second years and beyond, if they choose to continue.  I think nearly every second year teacher will agree that they were much more effective.  Yet only 53% of second years in 2010 accomplished this 1.5 year feat (how do they measure that?  Do they weigh the brains of their students before and after the year?) compared to 39% when they were first years in 2009.  The only explanation for this is that these numbers are meaningless.  Only someone who knows very little about education could think that a great number of first and second year teachers are accomplishing such an incredible feat.  I’ve always found it very hard to even accomplish one year of work.

I don’t like when TFA misleads like this.  It is dangerous to invent statistics like this because 1) new CMs might believe these numbers and, at least subconsciously, not work as hard at training since teaching must not be that hard, 2) TFA, I think, believes it’s own hype which would explain why they are complacent with their insufficient training model which includes teaching 12 days, an hour a day, with groups of about 12 students, and 3) politicians believe these lies and base education policy on this which ultimately hurts the students.

I’d really like to hear from CMs from the 2011 Kansas City cohort and let me know about what it is like ‘on the ground’ out there.

29 Responses

  1. Kayla

    Gary,

    I’m a 2011 KC Corps Members. Although I feel like I don’t have much to say (mostly because I’m tired at the current moment) what I can say is this year for sure has been really rough.

    I feel like TFA-KC has done their best to try and work through the struggles of our district this year, but I also feel like there has been an immense amount of decisions made beyond our control.

    For example, one of my main frustrations/concerns I had was the fact that Covington was the decision leader to let go of so many jobs and bring in so many new corps members. While I was a part of this initiation, the fact that the man behind the wheel left with such a big decision at hand I feel seriously affected the district, schools, and teachers.

    Bringing in such a large number did exactly what you said it did, left a huge corps without the support it needed. KC was already a district trying to regain stability and I felt like this shook it more.

    Luckily, I was blessed with an amazing MTLD. She gave me the support I needed and truthfully is a huge part of the reason I made it the entire year. I went through Black October where I was a phone call away from calling it quits. But what my MTLD did was reminded me that I needed to focus on myself for the next few weeks and get myself regrounded. She never once (during that conversation) told me I should rethink my vision/mission/why I’m here, spend more time with other co-workers, visit classrooms, nor read inspirational stories. She told me to do whatever I needed to re-ground myself and take some steps back. During this two week period I got so much more emotionally/physically/mentally healthy. I came into work later and left early. And this 2 week period saved my entire year. Refer to this post – (http://kayla21.teachforus.org/2011/12/04/burnout-my-advice/)

    When I came back, I not only was refreshed, but so much happier. As our year has continued to be a struggle and battle, with numerous resignations (not just within TFA, but the district), I found myself still loving my kids, even more than before. I also accepted the fact that maybe my kids wouldn’t grow 1.5/2 years, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t learning and they aren’t making progress.

    I told my MTLD that during our EOY conversation. As well as, I wished TFA would have been more transparent that the goal of transformational change is important, but the transparency of reality is even more important.

    I am so glad I pushed through this year. I have been sad with the instability that has seemed to continue. But hoping that next year can be a 180 degree turn.

  2. KKC2011

    I was pretty sure I had already commented on this..but I guess it didn’t go through. I will post a comment to you tomorrow (too tired now!)

    • Gary Rubinstein

      It went through. I just hadn’t approved it yet.

  3. Michael Fiorillo

    “… TFA, I think, believes it’s own hype…”

    Yes, because the most successful liars lie to themselves, as well.

  4. DismissedCM

    Gary,

    I was a 2011 CM in Kansas City. It is still with pain, guilt, and anxiety that I type the word “was”. TFA was my dream since my sophomore year of college, I vividly remember crying tears of joy when reading the email I was accepted to teach in Kansas City last March.

    I was not aware until I arrived in Kansas City in June for induction that we were replacing 200 experienced teachers who had fired. This always weighed heavily on my conscience.

    My experience with TFA was positive at induction and at the L.A. institute. In Los Angeles, I had an amazing advisor who went above and beyond to ensure I mastered the fundamental tools to become a great teacher. I left LA confident I had the tools necessary to become a great teacher, and excited to start my work to close the achievement gap.

    Upon leaving L.A. we only had one day to transition to Kansas City before starting work with KCPS. I was exhausted but still running on adrenaline and enthusiasm from institute and was excited to begin work as soon as possible.

    Six elementary schools in the district transitioned to a new model of SCL or student centered learning. This was a project based learning system where students were grouped at their instructional level as opposed to their peer age group. In order to test students, intensive computer based testing needed to occur building wide to determine student’s instructional levels in reading and math. This new system caused mass chaos in my school. I was working with over 72 students each day at the elementary school level as I had different students for homeroom, math and communication arts.

    From day one at my school, I knew I was in over my head and reached out for help right away. Students were swearing at me, throwing things at me, hitting me, defacing classroom property, running out of the classroom, fighting, throwing desks and screaming. However, the support that TFA could provide never seemed to be enough as my principal began formal steps to remove me after my third day of teaching. I was eventually put on a “professional growth plan” by my principal. I went above and beyond to complete all elements of the plan. However this plan which consisted of busy academic based work did not translate to a better managed classroom.

    I was working around the clock to making improvements in my classroom. Each day after school, I was working with Teach for America staff, veteran teachers, or attending grad school and planning and was sleeping on average three hours a night. I was getting conflicting advice from different TFA staff memebers, my principal and veteran teachers. I never understood what action steps I should be taking and what were reasonable expectations for myself.

    Everyone outside of my TFA world encouraged me to just quit. I had been suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia and depression.In the fall, each week, I would hear of more corp members who had quit. Each time I would hear a name, I was shocked. It was never anyone who I would have “expected” to quit. To be completely honest, I don’t think any of these people chose to quit. I think each of these individuals was driven to a point where they physically, mentally, and emotionally could not do this work any more. Hearing about CMs in therapy or going on anti-anxiety or anti-depressants was never surprising. No one ever really seemed stable, crying and panic attacks common place at my house where 4 CMs lived.

    However, never once did quitting cross my mind. I was dedicated to my school, my colleagues, Teach for America, but most importantly my students. In my situation, depsite the progress I was showing, and drastically improved evaluations by Christmas break, I was removed from the classroom and put on “administrative leave”. No details were given in the letter I received from HR. I can say with complete conviction that if I did not receive that letter I would have finished the school year and my TFA commitment.

    While I was on admistrative leave, I was still 100% loyal to Teach for America and sent countless emails to the regional staff asking them how best to spend this time and if they had any recommendations on how I could develop professionally during this time. I was never given any straight answers. During this time although I was still a CM, I was barred from attending TFA events including all professional devleopment. This time was extremely difficult.

    Eventually Teach for America decided they were going to release me from the corp because the policy was “if you are released from your school, you are released from Teach for America.” However, with all of the non-renewed teachers they are not remanining consistent with this policy. In the meeting where they dismissed me I told the executive directors and my MTLD that while I respected their decision, I wanted to know what I should do differently because I do want to teach, this is not a resume booster or something to do for two years, it’s my passion. The three women looked speechless and finally my MTLD mentioned something vague about changing my mindset. I also asked why they were being inconsistent with the policy of replacing CMs who had been dismissed from the corp and the ED of TFA looked me in the eyes and said “because I could not in good conscience tell any principal you would be good for their school”. Those hurtful words continue to ring in my ears almost everyday.

    However, I am moving forward in my quest to be an excellent teacher. Despite what TFA thinks, I know that I have the intelligence, skills and compassion to be a great teacher. I have relocated back home to recover emotionally and professionally. I am working as a long term sub and even in just a month of working in a 1st grade SPED classroom, my students are making growth in math and reading. And yes, I do have data to prove this.

    I do not want to discount the good things that are happening with Teach for America in Kansas City. Many of my friends and colleagues have had succesful years and made 1.5 years of growth and beyond in their classrooms. Also, I can honestly say that 2011 cohort in KC consists of some of the most amazing people I will ever meet. Corp members are not only improving our schools, but also our communities as advocates for education, the arts, public health, nutrition and athletics. There are so many amazing people on staff for TFA as well. However, these great people seem to just act as minions, speaking in rhetoric and TFA jargon.

    I still believe in TFA’s mission and I do believe that one day in Kansas City all students will receive a quality education, and I pray for the students one day comes very soon.

    • Gary Rubinstein

      Thanks for having the guts to write this comment. Good luck in pursuing your future in education. You should read stuff by Dan Brown (the teacher, not the Da Vinci Code author). He had a rough 1st experience with NYC teaching fellows and quit and then regrouped and is now a career teacher.

    • left TFA, still a teacher

      I left TFA due to an unsafe teaching situation that TFA would not address (other than some guilt trips about my character). I just want to write you not to give up on your dream of being a teacher! I am finishing my MS in Special Education this summer and after 2 successful internships, I am applying for jobs for next fall. I am immeasurably better prepared to be the teacher I wanted to be in TFA and that my students deserve. Take a moment for yourself to regroup and do it the traditional way, you won’t regret it.

      I have TEACH grants to teach in low income schools, and my commitment to students is unchanged. You can do it and you will be in a much better position this time.

      Take care of yourself.

    • Fran Chase

      I think that it is remarkable the courage and determination that you have and I am glad that inspite of TFA you are pursuing your passion. I wish you,could understand that schools are failing often based on the test scores of a small number of children. In addition due to NCLB schools have been robbed of important resources and support systems. Then when they fail it is the teachers that are blamed. My school had some of the best scores in the city. We had a dedicated staff and a strong principal. Once she left they kept taking away more and more and then our scores went down and we discovered that is was only a small number of kids mainly severely disturbed students who refuse to take parts of the tests. This fall we were identified as Persistently low achieving even though we had made AYP a few years before and
      Only missed by one tenth of one percent. We only missed 2 targets out of 25. In addition our school has a 23% mobility. It bothers me when people say they are going to come in and fix education.
      Our school like many schools was doing well. Things started to go down hill when NCLB came along. One day I ran into 2 of my former students
      Both of them were in college. They were preNCLB kids. It is a shame what that law has done to education and my school is a perfect example.

    • KCMO Chief

      This does not surprise me given our leadership… how unfortunate!

    • I was told that I was a bad math teacher in the school I worked in after TFA, and I have a feeling that my MLTD never really thought I was a very good teacher. However, I’m now working with a top five math educator on a really important national project and publishing papers in math education as well as teaching college Calculus. I think that I was under extreme stress as a teacher but absolutely had what it took to contribute to education. Perhaps I’m better contributed in the role of supporting teachers than being a teacher, but I think that the people who thought I was bad at teaching math didn’t really even understand math well enough to make that judgement.
      You are not alone! Keep it up.

  5. Meg

    I’m not sure of the situation in KC but in Memphis “contract not renewed” might mean fired, but might also mean surplussed, which is almost always a blind first in first out policy without regard to achievement. Again, maybe not the same in KC, but it might be skewing the numbers.

    • Gary Rubinstein

      If that were the case, then they would be laying off CMs who just completed their first years to make room to hire brand new CMs? I guess this is possible, but that would be pretty crazy. Also, I’m not sure about your phrase “without regard to achievement.” By ‘achievement’, I think you mean student achievement, correct? Are you suggesting that they have finally come up with a fair, accurate, and objective way to measure exactly how much a teacher’s students have learned in a year, or do you mean just how that teacher’s students did on a multiple choice standardized test? I just don’t think that this is the same thing as achievement. Sorry to be a stickler with words, but I think your phrasing is loaded, and want to clarify.

      • Meg

        What I meant there was that there is no sort of teacher evaluation of any kind that plays a role in someone being surplussed. I used student achievement as an umbrella term, with the understanding that different schools, states, and districts calculate student achievement using different measures. And in Memphis when teachers are surplussed its not to make room for new CMs, its due to budget cuts. Its possible a school that surpluses teachers may end up hiring a new CM but it wouldn’t be to take the surplussed teacher’s spot. It would be more like two foreign language teachers were surplussed because of budget constraints, and the school might hire a math teacher (who could potentially be a CM) to replace a teacher thats leaving.

        • This is not necessarily true; probationary teachers (teachers in their first couple of years in a district) typically can be released without cause. I know Teach for America alumni who completed their two years and wanted to continue teaching, but were released by their district, only to be replaced by a new Teach for America Corps Member.

          Teachers who are released do not retain seniority benefits, so they absolutely can be replaced by new teachers. And since the dismissals are without cause, positive evaluations of any kind do not stand in the way of releasing a teacher.

      • KC2010

        The KC situation is complicated. KCPS does not have accreditation and needs to show that they are attempting to improve teacher performance and accountability. Since KCPS is a failing district and has no idea how to do this, they’ve chosen to show that they are attempting to improve by giving non-renewals to underperforming teachers. However, they do not have the capacity to do thorough evaluations, so underperforming has come to mean non-tenured faculty who were not a good fit in their school (or who were in expendable areas, like the fine arts.) Unfortunately, this has heavily affected Corps Members.

        This is not to say that all CMs who have received non-renewals were exceptional teachers, but it is simply a note that Kansas City is experiencing a lot of educational turmoil right now and everything is not what it seems.

      • thelearningcurve

        That’s exactly what happened in my district in GNO. I can’t speak for KC corps members, obviously, but in my particular district, almost every teacher at my original placement school was “surplussed” (15 that I know of). And before that surplus letter went out, 22 new 2012 CMs were already hired.

        Furthermore, this surplussing seems to have happened independent of the merits of our achievement data. According to the data systems of my school district, my students achieved “significant” growth, with most of them growing in math (a subject I taught) and reading (a subject I didn’t teach) an average of two years from where they began (using MAP data), while another teacher – who was also surplussed – achieved about a year of gains in her classroom. My reviews from observations were all between 3.4 – 4.0 on a scale of 4.0 for each individual indicator. When I asked why I had been surplussed, I wasn’t given a straightforward answer, just told that the district made the decision based on what it thought the school needed, “not necessarily the merits of each individual teacher” (this according to an email from a top administrator).

        All of the data I reference is independent of TFA, this is what I received from the district throughout the year and after my inquiry into my surplus letter. Just thought I’d offer some insight, as a friend who is a KC CM was also surplussed and in our conversations leads me to believe it was a similar situation for her (I do not know if it was similar for all of the KC CMs surplussed).

  6. Wess

    Your last full paragraph is RIGHT ON. I can say that THE main reason I wanted to join TFA was because I believed the statistics on teachforamerica.org and the studies linked there. Hook, line, and sinker.

    I won’t go so far as to say that I’m sorry I joined, but I will heartily echo that paragraph.

    • thelearningcurve

      Ditto as well. I choose not to cite my TFA data because in my experience… it means nothing.

  7. James

    @DismissedCM The three women looked speechless and finally my MTLD mentioned something vague about changing my mindset.’

    Wow! Whenever TFA has someone say something that is vaguely incongruent with their own policies or world view, it is time for a good, fun, little ‘mindset chat’. That rhetoric is even part of TFA’s staff training at Institute: this person may need a ‘mindset’ chat, discussion, talk, whatever…

    It’s almost like TFA’s immediate response to cognitive dissonance is — MINDSET!

    Sorry to hear about the way you were treated! Your story is compelling, and could probably be published in your local/regional, if not national, press. Go for it.

  8. James

    And, Gary, of course significant gains are bulls*$t.

    So-called significant gains are determined (or were when I was a CM) by the tests that CMs self-administer and self-report to their program directors.

    If Michelle Rhee cooked the books in Washington DC in a formal position with tons of security surrounding the process, why wouldn’t CMs A, B, C, D and E cook the books in their own classroom to look impressive to their PD, and have something quantifiably significant to put on their resume to Harvard Law.

    Significant gains are, again, a joke.

  9. teacher in kc

    I’m a veteran teacher in KC and this is fairly accurate. But the district didn’t fire 150 teachers to make room for TFA, they fired 87 (as the linked article reports). And most of them were eventually hired back as openings came up. And yes, the 32 who were non-renewed will probably be terminated. The ones who were smart enough to join the union will have representation and some may be saved. But any who are not union members will be gone.

    The other thing I would question is the data TFA is citing to support success (or not) for the TFA interns. We don’t test every grade level or every subject so I can’t imagine what they are talking about, unless TFA does an assessment I’m not aware of.

    I also can’t speak for every school in the district, but at my building where we had 7 TFA interns, the veteran staff went out of their way to provide support and encouragement to our intern teachers. And most of them did well and will be returning. So to claim they didn’t get any support because the superintendent quit is just not true.

    A larger concern I believe is the attitude many of these TFA interns come in with, that they know the answer to fix our struggling school system and the people who have been working there (many like me for decades) are failing our kids. That’s just downright insulting. Most of the TFAers I worked with got over that superiority complex pretty quickly. But the one who did not was still struggling at the end of the year and I expect next year will be tough for her unless she learns to focus on what she knows rather than on what she thinks her co-workers should be doing.

    I also don’t expect the district to renew the TFA contract when it expires (I believe in 2 years?) because we have a new school board and a new administration. And the TFAers are more expensive than traditionally trained first year teachers because of the TFA fee.

    • James

      TFA literally just gives CMs a host of tests on a CD that then CMs can print out and administer on their own time and on their own schedule. ‘Significant’, ‘solid’ or ‘no’ gains are achieved based on student test performance relative to goals set by the CM. This is an extremely informal process, so, you’re right, that data above is not informed by a scientific testing instrument like a state NCLB test.

      • Meg

        James I believe this is something that varies by region and subject area. In Memphis whether we make “significant gains” or not is determined by our EOY exams – all subjects for teachers in grades 3-8 (TCAP) and then any high school subject with an End of Course Exam (Biology, English, History, Algebra I & II, etc.) For us, at least, they look at how our students performed on their test the last year and compare it to how they did with us. Obviously its nowhere near a perfect system, but a bit more secure and reliable than self-administered and graded exams.

  10. Kayla

    I agree. My veteran teachers also provided me tremendous support and are a huge reason for ANY success I had all year. But as a new teacher I do feel like I wasn’t able to be as supported as I needed to be through the organization and the things they needed from us as well because of all the other things going on. But I definitely agree that if the 2 veteran teachers who took me under their wings would have been absent that I would have had some serious problems still.

    • Agreed. TFA would claim my first year corps member outcomes as a victory for the organization (my data was great) but actually the primary reason I did as well as I did was that a couple of local veteran teachers made a pet out of me, while I got very little assistance from TFA. It’s a travesty that TFA is operating in districts where it’s pushing local experienced teachers out.

  11. teacher in kc

    Kayla, I’m glad you had good support. That’s so critical. I’ve often said we teachers learn more from each other than from any other source. It also takes years to become a good teacher and in the KC district, you need to learn to wade through the dysfunction.

    I don’t believe Covington leaving was a problem for most of us for a couple reasons. He was a bully and we cheered when he left. Also, we are accustomed to the revolving door administration and have many times in the past gone months without a superintendent. The kids still come to school every day regardless of who is employed or not at the top. And you learn to just teach.

  12. KCMO Chief

    I will post my own opinions later this week on this topic, but, contracts not renewed means, yes, fired.

    But don’t worry! Some of those fired CMs are now teaching at Kansas City charter schools!

  13. Ms. Math

    I wrote a post on emotions and teaching math meaningfully-my take is that deceptive statistics about growth math high school math teachers feel horrible when they have no idea how to deal with students who are years behind and don’t had the meanings they need to learn high school math show up in their classrooms. what ever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, but my goodness, going through depression wasn’t very much fun.

  14. Gary,
    I’ve been reading your blog for quite awhile now, though this is the first time I’ve posted. Your blog has helped me process my not-so-positive TFA experience.

    I came into the KC Corps as a nontraditional CM. I had just finished a 7 year stint as the pastor of a church I had started in a suburb on the Kansas side. I had an hour commute to my school and a wife and son. I quickly learned why TFA recruits college kids without family attachments and encourages them to all live together near their schools. It’s not healthy to “work relentlessly” while also trying to be a husband and father.

    “Dismissed CM’”s description of the KC experience was right on, especially for those of us unlucky enough to be put in the “Student Centered Learning” schools. I worked with a lot of the other KC CMs at our Institute School and we all seemed to be about equal in talent and new-teacher struggles at Institute. The gap between CMs happened when we got back to our placement schools. The “Student Centered Learning (SCL) schools were the worst schools of the district, which is why the District was trying drastic measures such as SCL to try to save those schools, so the teachers in those schools were going through the insane emotional pressures “Dismissed CM” described. I can’t believe how many near suicide stories I heard. The CMs in the regular schools, while certainly not having an easy time of it, had better situations. Many of those who quit came from either the war-zones of the high schools or the disasters of the SCL elementary schools. Some of our CMs got put in the one elementary schools in the district that met state standards and had a self-contained classroom with less than 20 kids who basically behaved. Compare that to the 75+ kids rotating in and out of the SCL classrooms, kids who were impossible to manage. An MTLD (not my personal one) told me that TFA has the biggest struggles with classroom management in Detroit and KC because those school districts are so jacked up. (KC’s former Superintendent went to Detroit, ironically).

    A friend of mine who had been a ‘rockstar’ of sorts in our Collab at Institute due to her natural ability, got put in possibly the worst situation of the SCL schools. When I told my former CMA that this other person had quit about 2 weeks after I did, she was quite shocked.

    It seems that anything the KCMSD touches falls apart and that included the leadership of the KC TFA staff. I don’t know what it’s like now, but while I was there, there seemed to be a lot of turmoil among the TFA staff. This turmoil was manifested in some staff members quitting and in the others intimidating, threatening, belittling and kool-aiding us in a desperate attempt to minimize the damage of a train that was derailing just as it was leaving the station (dozens of CMs quitting by November, Covington resigning, etc.).

    I think part of the problem was that up till 2011, TFA had been small (50 CMs) and limited in its placement. But when 150 CMs are thrown into self-contained classrooms that are some of the worst in the country, well, disaster happens. And its such a shame because so many smart and talented people with so much to offer got fired by TFA or KCMSD. TFA isn’t kidding when they state that they recruit the “best of the best.” Some incredibly talented young people got the axe because they just happened to be put into impossible situations. I’d be surprised if half of the 150 CMs are returning for their second year.

    The best surprise was how supportive the veteran teachers at our school were. Our principal was pretty clueless but the other teachers were incredibly supportive. I can’t describe the level of commitment to and passion for their students that most of them showed. They tried to keep me propped up and encouraged, but between the expectations of the district, TFA and our grad school, I finally realize that I couldn’t be the teacher I needed to be while also being the husband and dad I needed to be. I’d never had this happen before, but I experienced a nervous breakdown. I lost a lot of weight and even had a full-blown panic attack when I got the syllabus for the grad classes. I spent a lot of nights crying in my wife’s lap. My wife, incidentally is a great teacher in one of the best districts in the country, Olathe, KS.

    Despite the guilt trip by my MTLD and her superior that I was breaking the promise I made to my students at the beginning of the year (a pretty hollow promise/ guilt trip since the SCL coach at our school switched our classes on us every two weeks), I quit just before my first payment for grad school was due. I decided I couldn’t put my students (most of whom didn’t have a father) above my commitment to my own son. I still hate that I had to make that choice,but it was the right choice, one that will pay off for the rest of my life in my relationship with my son.

    At a Christmas display at Crown Center in downtown KC one night, I ran into one of my former students. He was happy to see me and gave me a hug, but I couldn’t look his mom in the eye and my wife said she saw me shrink in guilt before his mom. I did go visit my old classroom just before the end of the year and I got to hug some kids and it helped bring some closure.

    Gary, I’d appreciate it if you read some of my postings on my TFA experience, especially the first post that will come up on this list. http://www.donniemiller.blogspot.com/search/label/Teach%20for%20America

    I think you’ll both be impressed and appalled at the crap they threw at me to keep me from quitting. But what I still don’t understand is why they didn’t employ the same tactics to keep people more talented than myself from quitting. Maybe since I was one of the first dozen, they were still trying to keep all the other dominoes from falling. Who knows.

    So, that was my KC TFA experience…

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