Why is TFA so incensed?

ImageI was on vacation when the New York Times published my Teach For America (TFA) Op-Ed entitled “A Glorified Temp Agency” in their opinion pages online. Thus I never had an opportunity to discuss it here. Let me tell you, I had an avalanche of email in my inbox from incensed TFAers. I was also quite surprised that there was a huge flood of comments posted online (currently 250+) responding to my Op-Ed relative to the other Op-Eds written for the “Is Teach for America Working?” series.

A less-discussed aspect of TFA is their powerful network of former classroom teachers (mostly short-term). A former TFAer let me know recently that TFA called upon their network to flood the New York Times website with critical comments and feel good stories about TFA in response to my research based Op-Ed. Their vast network of former classroom teachers (mostly short-term) is on full-view on Capitol Hill, in the professoriate, in non-profits and district leadership positions— really everywhere but the classroom.

As a point of full-disclosure I should also say that I count many current and former TFAers among my closest friends. I am a policy analyst interested in equity. The work that I do on TFA is research based and focused on encouraging TFA to reform their reform. Why reformers are so incensed by calls for reform is a mystery to me. Sometimes reform needs reform.

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Categories: Teach For America

Author:Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning and African and African Diaspora Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin.

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9 Comments on “Why is TFA so incensed?”

  1. December 15, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/cease-harmful-public-education-policies-relying-standardized-testing/w8ZrZwVT?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl This is a link to a petition to end over-reliance on standardized tests (profit-driven “reforms”). Please spread the word and get signatures.

  2. December 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    Teach for America is just an ed reform Poverty Pimp on the stroll. The TFA’s are just hustling the urban streets for them because, in this economy, jobs in their field have tanked. When their commitment is up, their resume line earned, then it’s off to grad school to study “leadership and ed reform” so they can be Poverty Pimps too!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Letter to a Friend: Teach For America Alabama | Cloaking Inequity - December 31, 2012

    [...] have discussed Teach For America (TFA) previously in the New York Times and in widely-discussed brief for the NEPC. [...]

  2. The Teat: Teach For America— Expensive & Convincing Inequity | Cloaking Inequity - February 4, 2013

    [...] I wrote in the New York Times, Teach for America is a temp agency. There is no way around it— despite [...]

  3. Fold or Rethink: A Teach For America Civil War? | Cloaking Inequity - March 4, 2013

    [...] I receive 1-2 calls per week from the media asking about TFA. The piece that drew the most heat was my editorial in the New York Times. Anyways, most of the stories have already been written when the conversations occur with [...]

  4. From the Mailbag: Teach For America Defector Speaks | Cloaking Inequity - August 6, 2013

    […] There is a growing crescendo in support and opposition of Teach For America from its alumni base. For all of Cloaking Inequity’s posts on Teach For America go here. Also see my piece in the New York Times on Teach For America here. […]

  5. The Teat: The Bloomberg Blues— A Starved Cow on Purpose | Cloaking Inequity - August 18, 2013

    […] TFA has been used to starve public schools of permanent high quality teachers— their alums are everywhere but the classroom.) TFA has been discussed extensively on Cloaking Inequity […]

  6. New Mathematica TFA Study is Irrational Exuberance | Cloaking Inequity - September 12, 2013

    […] many communities often approaches 80%— i likened TFA to a temp agency in the New York Times (See Why is TFA so incensed?). However, the Mathematica study’s findings run contrary to TFA’s rapid turnover as […]

  7. “Does Not Compute”: Teach For America Mathematica Study is Deceptive? | Cloaking Inequity - September 23, 2013

    […] See my piece on TFA in the New York Times. […]

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