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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10 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!


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