Cleveland’s teachers union is in a fit over the district’s increased utilization of Teach For America (TFA) to fill teaching positions. Instead of griping, the labor union should think instead of the larger human-resource crisis the district faces. The district has a myriad of human-resource struggles and, as we’ll see, one of them is its aging workforce.
The backstory, in brief, is the following. For Fall 2014, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) has approved the hiring of forty new TFA teachers. This more than doubles the nineteen TFA corps members that the district hired for the 2013-14 school year. TFA is a highly regarded organization that recruits and trains talented young people to teach in high-need schools across the nation.
But, as the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported recently, the teachers union doesn’t seem to be on board—and that’s too bad. In light of its opposition, here’s a fact the union should chew on.
In 2012-13, CMSD had the highest percentage of teachers with more than ten years of experience of all districts in Ohio. Indeed, 89 percent of its teaching force had more than ten years of experience. As a reference point, the statewide average for districts was just 59 percent. Somewhat similar to Cleveland, the other urban-eight districts also had above-average percentages of experienced teachers. Toledo, the next highest urban district, came in at 84 percent; Canton, at 60 percent, came in lowest among the urban eight.
In other words, CMSD...