MCS approves Race to the Top Contract with MTR - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MCS approves Race to the Top Contract with MTR

(WMC-TV) - While 100 Memphis City School teachers are still waiting for jobs, Monday night the school board approved a plan that will increase the district's teacher applicant pool.

Memphis City Schools started the year with 540 surplus teachers. The number is now down to 100. But there are reports that some teachers are working as hall monitors and doing janitorial work.

"I have some horror stories from teachers this week, they have come in tears, they have been reduced to all kinds of things," Keith Williams, President of the Memphis Education Association said.

Williams warned against entering a contract with Memphis Teacher Residency, when the district already has displaced teachers.

"Why would Memphis City Schools pay Teach for America $4,000 and MTR $1.4 million to staff schools in this district that we are able to do ourselves," Williams said.

MTR is a teacher certification program for candidates who commit to complete one-year master's degrees and then teach three years in Memphis City Schools.

The $1.4 million program is funded from Tennessee First to the Top funding. That money comes from the Federal Government's Race to the Top competition.

While Whalum expressed skepticism about the need for the program Sunday, he said the fact that it is paid for with federal tax dollars, and not local tax dollars makes the matter a "no brainer".

"We have to {approve the contract} it's not our money."

The MTR contract states quote "Memphis City Schools will....Use best efforts to provide a full-time teaching position in a...high need school for each satisfactorily performing MTR Resident."

But Commissioner Freda Williams said that doesn't mean the district is required to provide teaching positions for the MTR Residents.

"These teachers compete for the jobs just as any other person," Williams said.

MTR's Director says only 50 percent of its graduates were hired to work in Memphis City Schools this year.

He says most of them were hired for the high need subject areas of math and science. This is the first year the district has entered into a contract with MTR. That is because is the only way for MTR to receive the Race to the Top funds.

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