TFA alum and scholar Terrenda White says that TFA’s diversity gains have come at the expense of teachers of color, whose numbers have declined drastically in the very cities where the organization has expanded.
Jennifer Berkshire: You have a new paper out examining TFA’s initiative to become more diverse. You use the word *paradox,* but don’t you mean ‘success’? I just read this TFA tweet that *The TFA corps more closely reflects the public-school population than any other large teacher-provider.* What’s paradoxical about that?
Terrenda White: When I was first writing about TFA, I was complaining about the lack of diversity in the corps, especially when I was there in the early 2000s. And so a part of me is really happy that TFA seems to care about diversity and improving their numbers, and I think I’m fair in my piece about acknowledging that. But while TFA may be improving their diversity numbers, that improvement has coincided with a drastic decline in the number of teachers of color, and Black teachers in particular, in the very cities where TFA has expanded. I don’t see them making a connection between their own diversity goals and the hits that teachers of color have taken as a result of policies to which TFA is connected: school closures where teachers of color disproportionately work, charter school expansion, teacher layoffs as schools are turned around. We have to talk about whether and how those policies have benefited TFA to expand in a way that they’re not ready to publicly acknowledge. Continue reading →
While fundraising continues to gush, the supply of recruits is rapidly dwindling…
By *The 49er*
A couple weeks ago, I was having dinner with a current Teach for America corps member who described a bizarre moment to me. She’d recently attended a regional gathering and the executive director wouldn’t let corps members leave the room until they submitted the contact information for two potential recruits for the next year. My friend declined, writing instead: *I came here to be a teacher, not a TFA recruiter.* Continue reading →
EduShyster’s D-list reformer gives TFA props for diversifying—but says the organization still treats corps members like they come from privilege
By *The 49er*
I have a confession to make: I was a Teach for America (TFA) teacher (or corps member as TFA calls its teachers, since just plain teacher is considerably less sexy). While that gives me major points among the reform crowd, it taints my image among many non-TFA educators. While there are many criticisms of TFA that I happen to agree with, I give TFA credit for working to improve as an organization. This week TFA announced that it has made significant strides in increasing the diversity of its corps. I salute them for addressing the lack of teachers who come from communities of color—but the fat lady hasn’t quite sung on this play yet. Continue reading →
TFA’s partnership with the University of Minnesota sets Gopher state hearts aflutter
By Sarah Lahm,
Big news from the Gopher state: the University of Minnesota and Teach for America are one step closer to sealing the deal on their new partnership! It won’t be long before young TFAers can be found strolling the not-necessarily-elite-but-still-impressive grounds of Minnesota’s premier public institution of higher learning: the U of M. A little education reform with that jello shot? Continue reading →
Meet the Green Berets of Excellence
By Johnny Bravo
My story starts some years back, on my first day on the job as a public school teacher. (After twenty years of private industry work and collegiate teaching experience, I shifted gears relatively recently and became a teacher). Having expected to encounter a balanced mix of experienced-to-new teachers, I was surprised at what seemed to be an extremely large number of very young recruits at our orientation. Although they weren’t introduced to us as being part of Teach for America, it didn’t take long to find out. While we all wore the same uniform, so to speak, there was something different about them. Continue reading →