Tag Archives: Teach For America

Teach For America Falls Short in Special Education

By Levi B Cavener

“We all know that we aren’t yet providing a world-class education for every child with a disability. And we won’t rest until we do that,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in 2010 while celebrating the anniversary of the Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA).

Levi B CavenerIndeed, there is good reason for Duncan to acknowledge that despite achieving such incredible victories for special education students our nation still has many hurdles to overcome with educating students with special needs.  This is particularly true when ensuring that a “highly qualified” educator — not just on paper, but in practice — is leading the head of every special education classroom; such is my concern with an organization inaptly named, Teach For America (TFA).  

At a December 10, 2013, Vallivue School Board meeting I listened to Nicole Brisbane, Idaho’s TFA point person, pitch her product.  (The Albertson Foundation, a heavy donor to the district, had called them to see if they would meet with Ms. Brisbane.)  During the presentation board members inquired about TFA’s ability to provide staffing for “hard-to-fill” positions, particularly special education.  Brisbane was clear: TFA can provide “highly qualified” special education instructors.   Continue reading

We’re new! Why are we here?

Idaho’s Promise is an organization that focuses on ensuring every student in Idaho is provided with a world class education, regardless of the zip code the student lives in.

Idaho’s Promise advocates for laws and policies that provide a first rate equitable learning experience for every student in Idaho’s classrooms.  Current education policy has resulted in an unbalanced system in Idaho where students are not necessarily provided a uniform system of education as the Idaho Constitution requires.

Current issues of concern are an unbalanced system of taxation to fund districts, corporate ties to public charter schools, untrained professionals working with students as “highly qualified” instructors including Teach for America (TFA) employees, and corporate interference in public education policy through the guise of “philanthropy.”

This site is a platform to help encourage productive discussion, debate, and positive outcomes of education policy in Idaho.