Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Onion Takes on Teach For America":
As a TFA-er in New Mexico, this article was certainly humbling. But I have to say it was also kind of unnecessarily harsh... Not that I want to defend TFA in any way from these criticisms that are true in some cases, but I'm kind of tired of the blanketed criticisms of TFA. We're not all like this (hopefully), but I can understand how some more "privileged" corps members may ruin it for the rest of us. I'll admit, I'm pretty tired of TFA boasting its minute accomplishments with 1-2 students per classroom. Those are the students who would have probably succeeded anyways relative to the rest of their classmates. I get the optimism, but sooooo many voices of still underperforming students with severe needs for a better education are still unheard. From being on the inside, I definitely sense that people in TFA don't really like to talk about their failures with students.Let me add:
But back to why the article doesn't really do much....Somehow, the fact that about 1/3 of TFA corps members stay in the classroom after the two years seems to go unnoticed. I think TFA thus at least manages to feed teachers into the field, who may not have otherwise decided to teach. Also, after being exposed to the classroom, many TFA corps members struggle with the decision of whether to stay or not in the classroom. TFA is changing enough mindsets, in my opinion, to be making a positive impact on education. The more advocates, the better.... though we still have a long way to go and many TFA alum should stop thinking they are the God-sent answers to our enormous education problem.
Bottom line: I'm sure this article will make many people in TFA, including myself, think about our own teaching and motivations to be here. However, the preaching of this article may only hit home with the choir. I'm trying to think, if I was one of the TFA-stereotypes this article highlights, I would be uber defensive and dismiss it. Try again, the Onion!! Not that you're known for this, but some epic facts to tell us arrogant TFA corps members off would be even more effective.
I was in one school for 27 years in a high at risk neighborhood in Brooklyn. Most of my colleagues spent their careers in the school where there was little turnover. TFA does not take into account that a stable teaching group in a neighborhood school is a crucial element and TFA has helped the ed deformers destroy that.