Sunday, November 25, 2018

Just say #NoTFA!!

Dear Representative-Elect,
Congratulations on your successful election to become a representative of your state in the House of Representatives or U.S.Senate! As educators, many of us became very involved in your election, whether it was to volunteer for your campaign, fight for your endorsement within our union, share your information on social media, or just watch the election events unfold, holding our collective breath until the official results were released. Some of you even have a background in education, and for that, we are thankful.
You face a lot of decisions right now. Perhaps one of the most important is to prepare yourself with a team that will assist and guide you in future decision-making. We know that all Representatives cannot become overnight experts on all of the issues that are debated in Congress and must rely upon the research and opinions of their aides to guide them in decision-making that translates into real-time votes on the floor that shapes future laws, policies, and procedures.
We are coming to you with a concern about the past practice of hiring recruits that have gone through the Capitol Hill Fellows program, run by Teach for America (TFA). It is disturbing to us that these voices are given weight in decisions made about public education when they include many TFA “alum” that have only spent a few years in the classroom, and not necessarily in a neighborhood public school. Teach for America has had a long-standing agenda of realizing profits from public education, union-busting, and silencing democratic community voices at the school board level. All of these are concerning in a time that we are raising our collective voices as educators to defend and implement policies that will protect all of our students and strengthen our public schools systems.
We urge you to turn away from the Capitol Hill Fellows program as a source for legislative aides and instead, ask our educator unions at the state and national levels for a list of potential names and advice on policy. Or, you can even ask us, a grassroots public education advocacy group that includes educators and parents that have joined together to fight for the schools that our children deserve.
You deserve to be guided by authentic experts in the field and not paid lobbyists for the school privatization and standardized testing industry. The pharmaceutical industry should not be writing healthcare legislation. The oil and gas companies should not be writing climate legislation. Nor should our education policy be written by paid employees of industries making a profit off our schools and children.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration. 

Link to sample tweets and Twitter information to join us on Twitter #NoTFA

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