Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Indy Star: More Teach For America Recruits Coming To Indianapolis

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Teachers from the three Indianapolis schools Charter Schools USA is operating discuss curriculum. The company relied heavily on Teach for America recruits to staff the schools.

The Mind Trust will bring more Teach for America recruits to Indianapolis, increasing the number of placements from 140 to 180 next year.

The money comes from a $3.4 million Lilly Endowment grant, writes Indianapolis Star reporter Scott Elliott:

Since Teach for America was recruited to Indianapolis in 2006 by The Mind Trust, its influence has grown rapidly. It now has more than 300 alumni in the city, about 85 percent of whom are still working in public education.

Besides working as teachers and principals, Teach for America alumni hold key positions in the education reform community. Examples are Jason Kloth, Mayor Greg Ballard’s deputy mayor for education; Indianapolis Public School Board member Caitlin Hannon; and Linda Erlinger, executive director of Stand for Children.

Participants in the program enter an intensive five-week summer training program. Once they complete training, Teach for America places them in schools with high percentages of impoverished children. Participants must be willing to relocate to wherever they are placed and must agree to teach for two years.

The program has been widely praised for helping needy children and criticized by those who think that it does not give its teachers enough training or that it recruits some who have no intention of making teaching a career.

A similar organization, The New Teacher Project, will also receive grant money to add another 50 teachers in Indianapolis next year.

We’ve written before that turnaround operator Charter Schools USA relied heavily on Teach for America recruits to staff the three schools the company is running. The state board transferred control of four takeover schools to the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office earlier this year.



  • Indy Parent

    Kyle, what schools will hire the additional 40 TFA interns next year? And is there a list that shows which schools in the Indianapolis area hire through TFA? That would be interesting to know.

  • Karynb9

    Kyle/Elle, do TFA applicants have to go through the exact same process that other applicants for the same teaching job have to go through, or are they given automatic priority placements because of their TFA status? My understanding is that school districts like IPS enter into a contract with TFA that guarantees TFA teachers a certain number of teaching positions. Is that true?

  • inteach

    TFA teachers…young, cheap, and inexperienced.

    Bring ‘em in, and grind ‘em out.

    Most TFA teachers are in low-income schools.

    By year five, only 14.8% continue to teach in the same low-income schools to which they were originally assigned.

    And this is how we will close the achievement gap?

  • Indy Parent

    Neither article describes what the $3.4 million grant will pay for. My understanding of the typical TFA contract with a school district is that the district still employs the TFA intern directly and pays them the same or approximately the same as a 1st year teacher, and then the district also pays TFA several thousand dollars ($7,000 or so?) for its efforts in finding the TFA intern and training them. Does the new grant provide money to the districts to cover this fee? Money to TFA to pay local administrative staff? $3.4 million would mean a lot to local public school

    • Karynb9

      From the IPS school board minutes in April, IPS has entered into a contract with TFA requiring TFA to provide them with 30 teachers and IPS to pay TFA $3000 per year per teacher over the next two years. Not sure if/how this is tied to this grant, but yes, a TFA teacher costs the district an additional $3000 a year that they don’t have to pay a teacher who came from (*gasp*) a traditional four-year education program.

  • Chastity Parks

    This blows my mind! 5 months of training is all. No wonder we have dropped to 40 on the national education scale. Sad.

    • Chastity Parks

      World wide scale. My bad.

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »