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@TeachForAmerica Airlines: Fly Us! We Build Plane in Air

“I fly a lot,” he says. “Let’s say you go to the airport and you have a choice of three different pilots. One has trained for 30 hours online, the second has five weeks in the summer, and the third has studied, become certified and has spent a year as an intern. Which airplane would you choose?”

From For Teachers, Many Paths Into The Classroom … Some Say Too Many at

So I asked major airlines on Twitter if they would hire pilots without a license or experience, but who were very intelligent. Here is what they told me.Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 2.43.36 PM

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Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 10.23.13 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-07 at 2.43.56 PM

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So there you have it. Could the airlines have said it any better? If I want to be a pilot for a major airline, well, being bright, uncertified and lacking training just won’t work out for me. Unless of course I want to fly for Teach For America Airlines.

So JCrew has apparently has a new t-shirt contest open only to students of Teach For America teachers. I know that I am not qualified to enter the contest because I am not the lucky student of a Teach for America corp member. 2014-09-08 21.02.48Damn. But I do have some ideas for JCrew. Here are my potential entries.


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When I was conducting the background work on Twitter for this post, someone said that equating teaching to flying a plane wasn’t a good metaphor. I am more focused on the training and experience before you enter the cockpit/classroom, rather than the pedagogy and curriculum, but I thought it would be interesting to gauge classroom teacher’s opinion on the metaphor. So I asked Kenneth J. Holzapfel, Missouri Teacher of the Year. He commented

I think it would be the equivalent of having to pilot several different planes built by several different countries, with directions on the controls printed in various languages. The landscape in American Public Schools can be very diverse.

Fly Teach For America Airlines. We build the plane in the air.

For all of Cloaking Inequity’s posts on Teach For America click here. Look for the post from my former UT-Austin undergraduate student about her experience in Teach For America.

Have you heard about that “undeniable” evidence of “positive” impact of Teach For America? Read this and this and this.

Please Facebook Like, Tweet, etc below and/or reblog.

Want to know about Cloaking Inequity’s freshly pressed conversations about educational policy? Click the “Follow blog by email” button in the upper left hand corner of this page.

Twitter: @ProfessorJVH

Click here for Vitae.

p.s. For the inevitable Teach For America cheerleaders and supporters. This is humor. Satire. Relax and watch John Stewart have a little fun with Senator Lindsay Graham here.


About Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig (705 Articles)
Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State Sacramento.

7 Comments on @TeachForAmerica Airlines: Fly Us! We Build Plane in Air

  1. I wanted to follow your “here, here and here” links, but browsers identify them as security risks…


  2. Terry Waltz // June 14, 2015 at 10:59 am // Reply

    I am a certified teacher and a teacher trainer. However — this is a straw man argument, and we should be better than this. I would want to know the CONTENT of each training regime (much of traditional teacher training is a total waste of time and not applicable to the classroom) and the COMPETENCE of each individual based on performance testing. Seat time says nothing. Those are meaningful questions. I think teacher certification needs a total overhaul — but not by the people who feel they are qualified to overhaul education these days.


  3. David Berliner // September 17, 2014 at 6:52 pm // Reply

    Thanks Julian.
    FYI: I volunteered at the local surgical center on weekends because a) they have a shortage b) I am smart, c) I have a remarkably steady hand, and d) I read a lot of physiology texts.

    But the damn fools wouldn’t hire me!


  4. is there a way to embiggen the j.crew t-shirt thing. it’s too small to read.


  5. How about…Teaching today….Gone tomorrow! or TFA – your temp for the day!


  6. Reblogged this on Lloyd Lofthouse and commented:
    Would you really want your child to be taught by a TFA recruit during their first two years? Find out here what your child would be getting.


  7. Just awesome.


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