Teach For America: From Service Group to Industry

One of the best articles written on Teach for America

Although Teach For America began twenty years ago as a well-intentioned band-aid, it has morphed into what is essentially a jobs program for the privileged, funded by taxpayers and wealthy individuals. TFA was originally designed it to serve a specific need: fill positions in high-poverty schools where there are teacher shortages.

A non-profit organization that recruits college seniors primarily from elite institutions to teach for two-year stints in high-poverty schools, preceded by five weeks of training. TFA has grown from 500 teachers to more than 8,000 teachers in thirty-nine rural and urban areas.

As TFA is expanding, it is no longer just filling positions in shortage areas; rather, it’s replacing experienced and traditionally educated teachers. To justify this encroachment, TFA claims that their teachers are more effective than more experienced and qualified teachers, and that training and experience are not factors in effective teaching. TFA supporters also defend the explosive growth of TFA as an indication that TFA is elevating the status of the teaching profession for ambitious high-achieving college students.

Unfortunately, while Teach for America has been very effective at elevating the status of Teach for America, it has not had a similar impact on the status of teaching as a profession.

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