Saturday, December 8, 2007

How Teach for America Eats It's Young

Transmission from someone going through TFA Hell!

"Teach for America use cliches, like Be a Leader. But when a TFA teacher is under attack in their school by unsupportive supervisors or supervisors who resent having a TFA person in their school and they try to take a stand, TFA officials will not lift a finger. They are so anti-union they refuse to even sit in the same room with anyone from the union!"

One teacher under constant attack by a vicious supervisor asked for a copy of the contract that teacher signed with Teach for America and the DOE-Teach for America contract but was denied.

There is no training for the political realities they will face or how to navigate around these realities, thus leaving them to walk into a minefield, considering the way some schools are run. When the school admins provide no help for a new teacher as required by both contracts and law, TFA will not support the teacher. After all, they are interested in making sure they maintain future access to the schools and don't want any hint that their people are troublemakers.

The attitude is, "You are being sent to the Congo. Suck it up. You are closing the achievement gap – all it takes is your hard work and a 'No excuses' philosophy.' Put in your 2 years, get out and do something with your lives. Heavens forbid, it should not be teaching."

They are told urban myths about the dregs of teachers they will find in the schools, like, "A teacher killed and ate an entire class of kids and with tenure protecting him, it took 12 years to fire him." The union is bad, bad, bad.

Sure, they will find dregs, often protected not by the union, but by principals, some of whom feel that even dregs working at a quarter speed might be more capable at dealing with children than TFAs with little training who would replace the dregs if the principal got rid of them.

"Teach for America is a cult," said our source.


  1. What?? I don't understand this--I am a TFA alum and I was in the union. That statement about refusing to be in the same room as a union person is ridiculous. I'm sorry your source is having a hard time, but this was not my experience at all--nor for my friends.

  2. I wouldn't take the "same room" story literally but a euphemism for what is viewed as an anti-union pro-business attitude at TFA. Tell us more.

    Are you saying that TFA higher ups encouraged you and your friends to use the union mechanisms if you were having trouble with administrators at school? OR maybe none of them had problems.

    What % of TFA's are still in the classroom that you know of?

  3. It's currently just over 60%

  4. How do you know it's 60%? Did TFA tell you that?
    By the way, are you staying for a career or bailing after 2 yrs? Oh I


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