Teach for America is reducing its national work force by a net 150 jobs in a move the teacher-training nonprofit's leaders say will give its more than 50 regional offices greater independence, The Washington Post reports. The organization, which places new college graduates in poor school districts for two-year classroom stints, will shed 250 office positions while adding 100 new ones.
In a letter to Teach for America alumni and current members, CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard said the retooling will give local offices "more autonomy to adapt and innovate on our program in ways that meet the unique and varied contexts in which we work.” In an interview with the Post, she said the nonprofit is entering "a different phase of our organizational life.”
Founded 25 years ago, Teach for America experienced years of growth and attracted significant government and philanthropic support, but it has drawn criticism from teachers unions and some former members, who say the group's rotating corps of inexperienced teachers fosters instability in already-troubled schools. Its recruitment has declined for three straight years, and a previous round of job cuts shrank its national staff by 200.