Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 5:00 AM
After months of talks, the Cincinnati school district and charter schools in Northeastern and Southwestern Ohio have agreed to hire Teach for America teachers for the coming school year.
Cincinnati is the only Ohio traditional public school district to sign on with Teach for America. But Teach for America's Mike Wang, who leads the groups Ohio expansion efforts, says the group is continuing to talk with other public school districts:
“We’re delighted to be partnering with a number of great charter organizations and to continue discussions with districts and charter organizations throughout the spring and the summer, and see where that lands us in the fall of 2012.”
Teach for America places recent college graduates, many from elite colleges, into high-poverty classrooms across America. Last year, state lawmakers changed teacher licensure requirements in order to allow Teach for America participants to teach in Ohio. (Here's our earlier explanation of how the group works with schools.)
Now the group plans to bring about 50 new teachers to Cleveland charter schools, including the Breakthrough, I CAN and Mosaica schools and the Stepstone Academy, a new charter school set to open this fall.
In the Cincinnati area, about 30 Teach for America teachers will be in traditional public schools in the Cincinnati school district and across the river in Covington, Ky. They'll also be in several charter schools.
In both Cleveland and Cincinnati, the group has also set up agreements with local universities that will allow their teachers to enroll in graduate-level education course work.
While the participating schools pay the Teach for America teachers' salaries and benefits, other groups are contributing funds to help pay for other costs associated with the new teachers, like their summer training institute and professional development during the school year.
Those groups include Cincinnati business groups and foundations and Cleveland foundations. And the Ohio Department of Education is using some of the state's federal Race to the Top funds to support Teach for America in Ohio, Wang said.
In Teach for America's press releases, Ohio lawmakers including U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R) and U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton (D, Copley) praise Teach for America's establishment in Ohio.
And Gov. John Kasich had this to say:
"It's great that communities across Ohio have partners with Teach for America to help recruit new effective educators for some of our highest-need urban schools. I'm confident that the long-term leadership and dedication of these teachers will have positive impacts in schools across our state."