Head of teacher’s union says Teach for America ‘kills our children’

Head of teacher’s union says Teach for America ‘kills our children’

This is what it looks like when liberals devour liberals. The Daily Caller reports that on Wednesday Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers Union, identified an interesting new theoretical culprit in the Sandy Hook massacres. It is not the gun lobby or mental illness. It is Teach For America — the highly profitable non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating “educational inequity.”

TFA, as it is widely known, recruits graduating seniors from universities across the country and signs them up to a two-year teaching hitch in an underprivileged inner-city classroom. Its founder, Wendy Kopp, dreamed up the idea for this latter-day Peace Corps as an undergraduate at Princeton, where TFA became the focus of her senior thesis. She is now a prominent fixture on the commencement address circuit, where she lectures on the success of the program that her advisers said “couldn’t be done.” And she uses the occasions to bash those who are content merely to “tear down” (conservatives and Republicans) and praise those with the vision to “build up” (Barack Obama and liberal Democrats).

Kopp’s organization and the nation’s third largest teacher’s union should be a marriage made in … well — let’s be charitable and say “heaven.” So what raised Lewis’s hackles, prompting her to accuse TFA of helping to “kill and disenfranchise children”? It was not Sandy Hook per se. Rather it was an unfavorable reaction by one of TFA’s vice presidents, David Rosenberg, to a tribute to the “hero teachers of Newtown” written by education guru Diane Ravitch.

Ravitch apparently took the criticism personally and so did Lewis, who in the role of surrogate, wrote at Ravitch’s blog:

We in Chicago have been the victims of [TFA’s] experiments on our children since the current secretary of Education ‘ran’ CPS.

She goes on to challenge the “accolades” that have been “heaped [by fellow liberals, no less] on a group of education missionaries” and accuses them of the using the classroom as a “stepping stone to a more lucrative career.”

Lewis’s closing comment, “To David Rosenberg, Shanda!,” uses the Yiddish word shanda, meaning “shame,“ in an unorthodox way. Generally, the term is limited to use as a noun. One has to admire the chutzpah of a non-Jew misusing the house vernacular to reprimand a member of the tribe. (Actually, make that members of the tribe. Kopp is also Jewish and so, for that matter, is Ravitch.) Isn’t an outsider attempting to code switch a behavior that drives blacks, like Lewis, nuts?

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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