Huffpost Chicago

Teach For America's Growing Presence In Chicago Schools

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One of the largest charter school organizations in Chicago has reached a deal to bring in more recent college graduates to fill teaching vacancies.

The United Neighborhood Organization charter school network will hire 25 teachers from
Teach For America, the influential and popular nonprofit that places recent college graduates at public schools across the country.

Nine of the new teachers will go to UNO's newest charter school; they will account for roughly half the teachers at that school, according to WBEZ. The remaining teachers will be distributed across UNO's other schools around the city.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the charter is eager for the new blood:

"(Teach for America) brings quality individuals, people that will excel as educators within our school," said Juan Rangel, chief executive officer of the United Neighborhood Organization.

Rangel said that the partnership was like a "perfect marriage" of two organizations that are committed to high quality education through the support and training of the teaching staff.

This will add to an already growing number of Teach for America educators in the Chicago Public Schools system. Already this year, 155 TFA teachers have been brought into the system; this March, CPS reached a deal to hire up to 200 TFA teachers.

The deal came to the chagrin of the Chicago Teachers Union, hundreds of whose members have been laid off in the past year. The union felt wronged by a system that fired its members, only to replace them with teachers it describes as untrained novices.

"Obviously we're not under-served or understaffed or under-resourced in terms of teachers, and I thought that was the whole purpose behind TFA--to provide teachers in areas that are under-resourced," CTU president Karen Lewis said.

But the charter school deal doesn't affect the union: teachers at Chicago charter schools can't join the city union. If they decide to organize, they must form a separate union of their own.