TFA under fire: Student, Educator, TFA-alum, and media criticism of TFA

Graduate student John Speer writes how TFA is Detrimental to Impoverished Kids.   He concludes by stating, “If you are seriously concerned with the work that needs to be done in schools, get a degree in education and commit yourself to five years of teaching in an impoverished area. You will quickly learn that larger forces than a lack of belief in students are at work when it comes to serving poor communities’ educational needs.”

Mark Naison, a professor of African American Studies and History at Fordham University (and who I’ve mentioned before on this blog), writes in Why Teach for America Can’t Recruit in My Classroom that “An organization which began by promoting idealism and educational equity has become, to all too many of its recruits, a vehicle for profiting from the misery of America’s poor.”

TFA alum Emma M. Lind asks prospective TFA members to rethink TFA.  She says that if you’re inspired to teach, then “I encourage you to pursue an alternative route to licensure and placement: one that encourages and actively supports longevity in the classroom and does not facilitate teacher turnover by encouraging its alumni to move into policy or other professions.”

In Teach for America’s Hidden Curriculum, writer Andrew Hartman argues that TFA has underwritten, “intentionally or not, the conservative assumptions of the education reform movement: that teacher’s unions serve as barriers to quality education; that testing is the best way to assess quality education; that educating poor children is best done by institutionalizing them; that meritocracy is an end-in-itself; that social class is an unimportant variable in education reform; that education policy is best made by evading politics proper; and that faith in public school teachers is misplaced.”

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