Will Teach 4 a Place 2 Live

When education reform and real estate development get together, miracle$ happen…

Once in long ago historical times teachers came from the same places where they taught. But the teachers wanted to stay in their communities and this caused them to become LIFO lifers. Fortunately a visionary reform movement was born and bold visionary leaders known as transphormers understood that kids score best on standardized tests when teachers come from far away and stay for a short time. This was also a happy coincidence in that it resulted in cost $aving$ that could be used to purchase blended learning devices that have also been proven to cause test score increases. Problems solved!

Make that almost solved. Because the fresh new teachers traveled from far away to boost achievement and excellence, they didn’t have anywhere to live. Fortunately bold visionary leaders who have figured out one way to boost profits  achievement almost always have another great idea waiting in the wings. Stop one on today’s tour of excellence takes us to Philadelphia where even as we say farewell to 23 old school schools and their teachers, “a vibrant ecosystem of reform” is under construction. That sound you hear is the last nail being hammered into the coffin of public education the construction of a bold new headquarters for Teach for America, housing for hundreds of TFA corps members and office space for a rainbow of edupreneurs.

The bold visionary behind this bold vision is construction magnate turned education reformer turned construction magnate Donald Manekin. Let’s meet him, shall we?

“This is about helping teachers solve the mystery about where to live, giving them a community where they can come home and share lesson plans or just say, ‘Today sucked’ to one another,” Manekin said.

Gee, remember when teachers used to have place to live and a community because they came from one???

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas—for two years…
Philly isn’t the only city where TFA corps members will soon have a home away from their actual homes. Thanks to shoe magnate turned education reformer turned shoe magnate Tony Hseih, the CEO of Zappos, downtown Las Vegas is clearing out the bums rolling out the welcome mat for hundreds of TFA corps members. The ambitious project has gotten off to a slow start as it turns out that the TFA-sters who spend their days bringing excellence to the less fortunate aren’t quite as enthusiastic about living with the less fortunate.

Goldman Sachs hearts education reform

Bold visionaries breaking ground on Teacher Village.

The next stop on our tour is Newark where construction is under way on something called Teacher Village.This bold visionary partnership between the noted education reformers at Goldman Sachs and the city of Newark, will house not just teachers but the charter schools at which they work. Teacher Village tackles a major challenge faced by the fresh new teachers replacing the union-stifled teachers of old: burnout. It turns out that the 14 hour-per-day intensive test prep that’s required to overcome the effects of poverty without actually dealing with poverty can lead to rapid excellence depletion. Bold visionary solution? Have teachers live at their schools! Why am I not excellent enough to have thought of this and also take advantage of a generous 39% tax credit for investing in our children’s futures?

Shall we let New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tell us about the bold vision that’s at the heart of this bold visionary project?

“At the heart of Teachers Village is a shared commitment to innovative educational policies that Mayor Booker, the City and my Administration feel so strongly about – providing choice in education for the students and families that feel they have no choice. No matter what their zip code, each and every child should have access to a quality education.”

Collision course
Fingers crossed a teachers village or a TFA encampment of excellence will be setting up shop in a former community near you. But until that lucky day arrives, let’s check in with our edupreneurs in Philadelphia, where excitement about the bold vision that will soon be a reality is rapidly building. Meet soon-to-be tenant Alejandro Gac-Artigas, the 24-year-old CEO of Springboard Collaborative, a pilot reading program in select charter schools that is combating the “summer slide,” the regression in reading skills that occurs during idle summer months.

“I’m really excited about it. For those of us trying to transform education, it will amplify our collective voice while fostering the entrepreneurial energy and collisions required to keep ideas fresh.”

Reader: the sound you just heard was indeed a collision—of my wine box hitting the floor.

Send comments, tips or collision reports to tips@haveyouheardblog.com.



  1. Christie says that no matter what their zip code, all kids should have access to a quality education.
    I believe that no matter what their zip code, all kids should have what the wealthy kids get: an education devoid of standardized tests, test prep and harassed teachers–an education enriched with art, music, recess and creativity.
    I bet Christie would not agree.

  2. What is next? The edreform mall where teachers can spend their edreform scrip at the edreform super market? That is if they have the energy to leave their edreform housing?

  3. Horrifying. I wonder how the kids living in homeless shelters, the street, run-down projects, kids living 6 people in a 1-bedroom feel about their play-teachers’ new, temporary housing. No doubt public transportation will run near Teacher Village. There will be some kind of security. I bet fresh fruits and vegetables will be sold nearby. Heat, lights and elevators will work.

    1. Mere fresh fruits and vegetables will not be sold, Maggie–they will be certified organic fresh fruits and vegetables grown and harvested using methods that ensure maximum nutrition, flavor and visual appeal.

    2. Perhaps the kids you mention haven’t yet gotten the memo that their best shot out of poverty is the excellence that these imported teachers will bring with them. No doubt you are right about the level of service provided to these excellent visitors. They have high expectations after all, and with the “outsized impact” they’re likely to have in the classroom who can begrudge them their organic fruits and veggies, microbrews and vegan sushi?

  4. As long as those teachers are BORN IN AMERICA. Last year, 3 out of 4 jobs in the US went to legal immigrants.

    I DONT CARE if they’re legal, our gov’t is letting them in to work at 2/3s the price of an American citizen.

    It is NOT racist to say: hire Americans FIRST!

    Love your articles by the way, lol.

  5. Correction: There’s no such thing as vegan sushi, or the truly excellent 1st-year teacher.

    1. Could you possibly be more wrong??? First of all here is a link to a tumblr on, what else?, vegan sushi As for your assertion that there is no such thing as a truly excellent 1st-year teacher, if this were true, why would we need encampments of excellence in which to house them??? Point proven… Again!

  6. Do they get to wear identical uniforms too? Perhaps, just a simple frock similar to monk’s robe or nun’s habit? Will they eat the same food? Watch the same communal TV? Will they chew the same gum? Rise to the same morning alarm clock? Will there be security cameras in all the halls? A curfew perhaps? Seriously, this is just like the early 1800’s when schools for the deaf required that teachers live in dormitories on the school’s campus, not marry and attend religious services weekly. I can’t think of anything more restrictive and de humanizing. Turning the education clock back 200 years. Shame on America. Shame on “Deformers”.

  7. This really demonstrates how dissimilar TFA is from the Peace Corps, which they love to compare themselves to, even though TFAers are paid by school districts and get the same salaries as formally trained first year teachers, while Peace Corps workers are actual volunteers, i.e., they are not paid, AND they are expected to live in the same kinds of housing as the people that they serve.

    Can you imagine what kind of response TFA would have gotten from Ivy Leaguers if they’d had those two Peace Corps requirements from the beginning –no pay and live in the ghetto? The elites would have just gone straight on to law school or Goldman Sachs and skipped the two gap years building resumes to impress future employers.

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