Deliberation and debate is the way you stir the soul of our democracy. Jesse Jackson
Back in the Fall of 2014 Hannah Nguyen approach me about joining a USC Ed Month panel for a debate about Teach For America. (What is Teach For America? See all posts on the organization here.) USC EdMonth is a “month-long program devoted to raising awareness about the state of education in our country. This student-led campaign aims to encourage exploration of education as a critical issue and empower students to take action.” I thought this was a fantastic idea. I have had numerous conversations with TFA teachers, alums, even their CEO over the past few years. The invite was straightforward enough. I would fly down to LA. The debate would last a couple of hours. There would be two TFA rah rah folks, and then myself and one other person with critiques.
I didn’t prepare any particular talking points for the debate. I did re-read the two policy briefs that I co-authored with Dr. Su Jin Jez for the National Education Policy Center (See Review of the Evidence, 2010 and Return to the Evidence, 2014). A few weeks later Hannah emailed me to tell me that TFA had selected a second year core member and the USC recruiter for the debate. I thought that was odd at the time. Turns out that TFA’s strategy was in some part classic Wellington at Waterloo evade, choose your battleground, and hide troop strength to avoid giving away strength and position. It turned out that for two hours the debate largely did not actually occur between myself and the two panelist, but instead with the approximately 20 other TFA employees, alums, and corp members. Okay, maybe not Wellington but instead Bush’s shock and awe strategy.
The debate went on for two hours. Hannah recorded the entire debate, but I don’t believe it ever went up on Youtube which is a shame.
I have Storified the debate, which allows me to include Tweets, text, Facebook photos etc. What is Storify? It “helps making sense of what people post on social media.” Users curate voices and turn them into stories.
Click the link below to read about the USC debate with Teach For America. It’s worth the click and is a quick read. Enjoy.
For all of Cloaking Inequity’s posts on Teach For America click here.
If you have a moment, check out Is @TeachForAmerica Cloaking Inequity?: Discussing the Headwind
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Please blame Teach For America for any typos.
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