Letter to Obama: Data on “Highly qualified teachers”

article linked here


Why Teach for America Can’t Recruit in my Classroom

Why Teach for America Can’t Recruit in my Classroom

From the article:

Enraged, I did a little research and found that Teach For America had accepted only four of the nearly 100 Fordham students who applied.  I become even angrier when I read in The New York Times that TFA had accepted 44 of 100 applicants from Yale that year.  Something was really wrong if an organization which wanted to serve low-income communities rejected nearly every applicant from Fordham, students who came from those very communities, and accepted nearly half of the applicants from an Ivy League school where very few of the students, even students of color, come from working-class or poor families.

Never, in its recruiting literature, has Teach For America described teaching as the most valuable professional choice that an idealistic, socially conscious person can make.  Nor do they encourage the brightest students to make teaching their permanent career; indeed, the organization goes out of its way to make joining TFA seem a like a great pathway to success in other, higher-paying professions.

From former TFA-er: TFA didn’t prepare me for troubled kids

From former TFA-er: TFA didn’t prepare me for troubled kids

From the article: 

Summer institute is supposed to prepare you to work with high-poverty children in an urban setting or high-poverty children in a rural setting… and in no way did it prepare me and I don’t think it prepared many of my colleagues… It was mostly a highly structured psychological booster…. Coming into South Bronx was an absolute culture shock for me… Every day I went in and came home feeling like an absolute failure. I had one parent start a fight two other children in my classroom… I had children who had post traumatic stress disorder from seeing parents shot or seeing parents have strokes, and the child had to be the one to call the ambulance… Having to deal with this coming from a comfortable middle-class suburban upbringing.. was a complete disconnect and I didn’t really know how to deal with it and what to do for the kids. The things that Teach For America gives…  to help you don’t help you…. They are not realistic.

A letter from a former TFA-er: it’s time for TFA to fold

A letter from a former TFA-er: it’s time for TFA to fold

From the article: 

Consider TFA’s two original missions: first to help understaffed school districts fill teaching positions with talented, energized college graduates, and second to create a broader education advocacy and awareness movement. On both counts, TFA has had an impact, but ironically as TFA continues to grow, in many ways its impact is fading.

No longer are TFA corps members only filling spots that would otherwise go to long-term subs. In some districts TFAers are replacing veteran teachers who have been let go.  Other districts, like the one I used to teach in, appear to cycle through corps members every two years, with high turnover among TFA teachers who are in turn replaced by a fresh slate of bushy-tailed, ill-trained corps members.

Teach for America critics organizing resistance at ‘summit’

Teach for America critics organizing resistance at ‘summit’

From the article:

Now they are organizing a summit during the four-day Free Minds, Free People conference in Chicago this summer. The TFA summit is on July 14. Among the TFA summit organizers are two TFA alums, Beth Leah Sondel, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Kerry Kretchmar, a professor at Carroll College.

 The flier says that the aim of the summit is to organize “resistance to Teach for America and its role in privatization” of public education. It says participants will:
– Share the stories and practices of the many critical TFA alumni doing important resistance work across the country as activists, researchers, and teachers.
– Amplify the voices of those negatively impacted by TFA in their schools and communities