TFA has become perhaps the biggest recruiter on campus at many colleges across the country. This isn’t surprising given the job market these days and the enormous money TFA spends marketing itself on college campuses. But more and more college students are questioning and criticizing TFA as it becomes clear that TFA is straying from its mission of addressing educational inequity. Lucy Griswold is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin (one of TFA’s largest feeder schools) who considered applying to TFA. Even though TFA may have helped her land a job, she came to realize she could not join TFA if she truly valued educational justice. In Teach for America can’t offer real solutions to educational inequality, she cites two main reasons: TFA’s role in the corporate-driven reform movement and her conviction that teachers need extensive training before entering the classroom.
Binghamton University senior, Julianne Cuba voices similar concerns about TFA’s inadequate training in Teach for America doesn’t live up to its mission. She writes, “If the mission of TFA is to ensure that “all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education,” why are we allowing ill-prepared college graduates to be at the forefront of such an undertaking?”
If you’re a student concerned about TFA’s negative influence on educational reform, check out http://studentsresistingtfa.k12newsnetwork.com/. See if there’s a chapter at your school that you can support or consider starting a chapter at your school if there’s not already one. In addition, consider writing a letter in your student paper sharing your concerns. With TFA’s aggressive and well-funded marketing, it’s important that the views of real students and educators are heard.