The student-led movement to defend the teaching profession is off to a fast start:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
University of Southern California
#ResistTFA (Resist Teach For America) Hashtag Tops Twitter Trend List
February 18 – Chicago, IL – The hashtag, #ResistTFA (Resist Teach For America), topped the Twitter trend list in the United States beginning around 9pm EST on February 17, 2014, and remained there well into the night. For much of the evening, #ResistTFA was more popular on Twitter than “Olympics”, #JimmyFallon, and #TheTonightShow on the night of Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show debut.
Students United for Public Education (SUPE), a grassroots, student-led organization founded by Stephanie Rivera, Rutgers University Graduate School of Education Student & Urban Teaching Fellow, and Hannah Nguyen, University of Southern California Student and SUPE Chapter Leader, organized the #ResistTFA “Twitter Chat” Monday evening as part of SUPE’s “Students Resisting Teach For America” national campaign. The goal of the event was to initiate a public debate around critical issues related to Teach For America’s impact on public education. Teach For America is a controversial nonprofit organization that places high-achieving college graduates in low-income school districts across the country to teach for a minimum of two years after receiving just five weeks of summer training. The timing of the #ResistTFA “Twitter Chat” was selected to coincide with Teach For America’s final 2014 application deadline.
Participants in the #ResistTFA “Twitter Chat” included students, former TFA participants, teachers and education professionals, parents, and concerned citizens. Topics of discussion primarily focused on:
· TFA’s five week training program deemed insufficient to prepare novice teachers to teach in some of America’s most challenging schools
· The lack of commitment TFA teachers have to the communities they are assigned to (the majority leave teaching within 2-3 years)
· The concern that TFA teachers may see their teaching experience as just a stepping stone to other careers
· TFA’s partnerships with privately managed charter schools and the impact that has on teachers unions and the teaching profession
A joint statement from SUPE co-founders Rivera and Nguyen asserts, “The overwhelming response to the #ResistTFA hashtag proves that there is an enormous concern among students, teachers, parents and citizens across the country regarding Teach For America’s disproportionate influence on public education. We are encouraged to see this massive outpouring on Twitter, and we look forward to continuing this important discussion about Teach For America on campuses across the country.”
Students United for Public Education (SUPE) evolved out of the work of college students involved in defending public education from its attackers. In particular, SUPE was founded to fill a void in the movement for public education — before SUPE, there was no national student organization devoted solely to this cause. Under the guise of “closing the achievement gap” and “school choice,” for-profit corporations and their political representatives have sought to privatize and sell off public education. SUPE understands that a profit motive cannot guarantee a good education. Instead, only a robust and well-supported public education system — along with the courage and will to directly confront problems of racial and economic inequality — can provide a quality education for all.
SUPE is a community based organization because we know that public schools are the heart of every community. In other words, SUPE understands that in order for our goals to be reached, we must work with, not only K-12 students, but parents, teachers, and community members as a whole. We are not here to tell any community or students what to do. Rather, we want to work with communities to find what their needs are, and have them lead the way in the struggle as we work as equals to organize the change they believe is best. Find out more about Students United for Public Education at: http://supe.k12newsnetwork.com.
About Students Resisting Teach For America
Students Resisting Teach For America is a national, student-led campaign by Students United For Public Education. Although TFA presents itself as a non-partisan, data-driven philanthropy, it is in fact a sophisticated and efficiently run political organization. We therefore oppose TFA as an organization on political grounds. We resist TFA because we believe that its approach to education is not only immediately harmful to the students, schools, and families that it affects, but also that it actively promotes a vision of both education and society more broadly that furthers inequality and degrades holistic learning. Find out more about Students Resisting Teach For America at:http://studentsresistingtfa.k12newsnetwork.com.