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TFA vs. NC Teaching Fellows

WUNC’s Dave DeWitt has a good story this morning comparing Teach for America in NC to the 30-year old NC Teaching Fellows program.

The NC Teaching Fellows program awards $6,500/year scholarships for tuition at an in state college to North Carolina high school students interested in teaching. In return, students must teach for four years in North Carolina after graduation.

According to DeWitt:

The Teaching Fellows program has had a transformative effect on the profession in North Carolina: currently more than 4,000 teachers are Teaching Fellows. And more than three-quarters stay on as teachers past five years.

Despite these results, the Republican-controlled Legislature abruptly cut the program two years ago.

Teach for America, on the other hand, is gaining momentum in North Carolina:

Teach For America will place more teachers in eastern North Carolina than ever starting this fall, and TFA’s political influence has grown here has, as well. Governor Pat McCrory recently named a former TFA teacher as his new education advisor. Nationally, Teach For America has a budget of around $300 million, drawing donors like the Bill and Melinda Gates and Walton Family Foundations.

Fast forward then to last month, and the State Senate’s proposed budget (pdf). For the third straight year, the Teaching Fellows annual budget of $13 million went unfunded, as it did in the Governor’s version of the budget.

Teach For America, meanwhile, is poised to get a new initial allocation of $6 million in the Senate budget.

While the House budget restores the Teaching fellows program, the Senate is on track to support TFA over the native program that trained and retained such a large percentage of its participants over the years.

The House’s final vote on its budget comes this afternoon.

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