Veteran educator voices concern over TFA’s special ed initiative

To many, it’s concerning enough that TFA targets its placements in low-income minority schools where this exacerbates the churn of ill-trained novices.  Even worse, TFA has long placed their recruits in special education contexts despite these recruits having little, if any, training or experience for these demanding and specialized jobs.   Without acknowledging this gross deficiency in their training for such placements, TFA has now launched a new Special Education and Ability Initiative, which provides additional, but still very meager, training.   In An Open Letter to TFAers Tempted to Diagnose ADHD, Among Other Issues, veteran educator Mercedes Schneider voices strong concern about this attempt to train recruits to “professionally diagnose  and serve special education populations”.   She warns recruits, “Do not presume that a single year of “training” positions you to diagnose or un-diagnose members of a special population.”  While TFA claims their high expectations will lift up special ed students,  Mercedes warns them, “Do not mistake enthusiasm for invincibility.  If you really want to assist special needs populations, make the appropriate investment. Return to school and treat your decision as an honest, long-term career move.”

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