How TFA Became So Powerful

Two recent articles investigate how TFA became such a powerful organization.  The first comes from Alex Russo entitled Left Out of No Child Left Behind:  Teach for America’s Outsized Influence on Alternative Certification, which looks at how TFA became a much more politically savvy organization over the last twenty years.  A big part of this is how it is training the next generation of education leaders.  Hence, we see numerous examples of TFA alum with all of 2 or 4 years experience teaching, moving into high ranking education leadership or political positions (see for example, Cuomo Appoints TFA-er as Deputy Secretary of Education).  Jersey Jazzman points out the absurdity of this at TFA Is a POLITICAL Organization.The second article How Teach For America became powerful is actually an excerpt from a book “Excellence For All: How a New Breed of Reformers Is Transforming America’s Public Schools” by Jack Schneider.  This excerpt also looks at the change in TFA strategy and places it in a broader historical context.  The author concludes that TFA’s “success may better reflect the sociopolitical climate of the past two decades than the program’s ability to improve the teaching profession.”

Both articles provide valuable insight on TFA and how it became such a powerful force in education.  Both critics and fans of TFA will find something of interest.

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