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Amid Teacher Layoffs, Is TFA Still Needed?

Having weathered some 540 teacher job cuts—with more possibly to come—some educators in Clark County, Nev., are wondering why their district still needs Teach for America, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"Why are they still coming here?" asks Justin Brecht, a Las Vegas elementary teacher in his sixth year who is—interestingly enough—a TFA alum himself. "If I find out that a Teacher For America [teacher] was placed in the 5th grade and I lose my job as a 5th grade teacher, I'm thinking, 'How is that OK?'"

A local TFA official notes that, because of seniority rules, it would be unlikely that a TFA recruit would replace an experienced teacher. "Our teachers would be filling vacancies, classes taught by subs, long-term subs, hard-to-fill subject areas," she says.

TFA also appears to have a very strong record in the district, with nearly half of its recruits (like Brecht) staying on beyond their two-year commitments.

The issue does raise some interesting questions about the teacher supply and demand, though. For example: Why can't education schools produce the kinds of teachers who would be qualified for those hard-to-fill jobs?

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