Buried deep within the Ohio Budget Bill (HB64), and as agreed upon by the Conference Committee working out the details between the House and Senate versions, is the following language:
Of the foregoing appropriation item 200597, Education Program Support, $2,000,000 in each fiscal year [of the two-year budget] shall be distributed to Teach For America to increase recruitment of potential corps members at select Ohio universities, train and develop first-year and second-year teachers in the Teach for America program in Ohio, and expand alumni support and networking within the state.
Teach for America already charges school districts taxpayer-funded dollars as a “finders fee” for recruiting and placing teachers in school districts, so exactly why the organization needs additional taxpayer funds from the state legislator is mind-boggling.
These additional funds were not in the original budget proposed by Governor Kasich (though we know it’s a program he clearly supports) and were added in by the Ohio House and supported by members of the Ohio Senate. While school districts and local governments are continuing to be hit hard by changes that are reducing their funding, the legislators are dumping $4,000,000 into this special project, an out-of-state program that specializes in placing temporary teachers. Of note, the language does not explicitly state that the members recruited from “select Ohio universities” are to remain in Ohio’s school districts, but could conceivably travel to other states where Teach for America works.
Once again, instead of doubling down on teacher preparation programs in state universities, the Ohio General Assembly is putting their money in this special interest group that has not proven to be as good as traditional educator preparation programs while also charging school districts for using “TFA’s services”. From our view, this looks like an opportunity for TFA to get paid twice – first through the state budget to set up shop in Ohio, and second by charging exorbitant fees to school districts who hire TFA “corps members”.
Do Ohio’s school districts get paid twice for “recruiting teachers”, for “training and developing first-year and second-year teachers”?
No, they do not.
So why is an out-of-state “nonprofit” organization that annually receives millions of dollars in donations from private individuals, foundations, and corporations being propped up by Ohio’s taxpayers?