Teach for America Has Always Been a Bad Idea

English: Comparison of Charter school performa...
English: Comparison of Charter school performance to public schools. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe in public education and its importance. The data on charter schools would have long ago ended any other movement but it continues onward, heavily funded and pushed by opinion leaders across the nation. I can’t help but think we are once again being sold a bill of goods by the privatization crowd and the free market absolutists. No amount of information, no knowledge of history, no deviation from the idea that education is all about making money, will be allowed to stop the movement from turning all education from a public good to a private profit.

James Pilant

Teach for America recommendations: I stopped writing them, and my colleague should, too.


There is a movement rising in every city of this country that seeks true education reform—not the kind funded by billionaires, corporations, and hedge funds, and organized around their values. This movement consists of public school parents and students, veteran teachers, and ex-TFA corps members. It also consists of a national network of college students, such as those in Students United for Public Education, who talk about the damage TFA is inflicting on communities and public schools. These groups and others also acknowledge the relationship between the corporatization of higher education and the vast impact of corporate reform on our youngest and most needy children. It is these children who are harmed by the never-ending cycle of under-trained, uncertified, first- and second-year teachers that now populates disadvantaged schools, and by the data-obsessed approach to education that is enabled by these inexperienced teachers.

via Teach for America recommendations: I stopped writing them, and my colleague should, too..

From around the web.

From the web site, Erika Maren Steiger.


I accepted that, and I was a dedicated alumna for about ten years. Then one day I got an email saying that TFA had decided that people who hadn’t finished their full two year commitment could no longer be counted as alumni. It was a bit insulting, that my ten years of talking them up and supporting them suddenly didn’t count, but now I’m glad, because I don’t want to be affiliated with them anymore.

TFA is no longer about filling a desperate need, where no qualified teachers can be found. Now the organization does what I refused to do. They take jobs away from people who are better qualified, more committed to teaching, and much more knowledgeable about the communities in which they teach.

I believe that most of the people involved in TFA have good intentions. I also believe that some TFA teachers may be better than some of the teachers they replace. On the whole, though, the organization is now doing more harm than good, and the people who run it seem to be wearing goggles, made from confidence in their own intelligence and virtue, that blind them to the detrimental effects of their work.

Maybe they don’t have to quit. Maybe they just need to find a way to restructure, so they can go back to filling an actual need. What I know is, when my attempts to help became a hindrance, I stepped out of the way. TFA needs to take off the we-are-saving-the-world goggles and do the same thing.