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Teach for America

How Teach For America Evolved Into An Arm Of The Charter School Movement

When the Walton Family Foundation announced in 2013 that it was donating $20 million to Teach For America to recruit and train nearly 4,000 teachers for low-income schools, its press release did not reveal the unusual terms for the grant. Documents obtained by ProPublica show that the foundation, a staunch supporter of school choice and Teach For America’s largest private funder, was paying $4,000 for every teacher placed in a traditional public school — and $6,000 for every one placed in a charter school.

Corporatizing Education & Teach For America’s Role In Elections

By Drew Franklin for AlterNet. Teach For America sounds like a benevolent and benign idea: recruit bright college grads, give them some teacher-training and place them in some of the nation’s neediest schools for a two-year commitment to teach kids. The reality behind TFA’s sunny exterior is somewhat more sinister. Education policy experts today consider the nonprofit founded by Wendy Kopp in 1990 to be at the vanguard of the school privatization movement. TFA is also a media juggernaut in its own right, known for deploying a sophisticated public relations arsenal to advance an agenda focused on crushing teachers’ unions and privatizing public school systems. TFA's funders, including the Waltons, Bill and Melinda Gates and top Fortune 500 corporations, all have plenty to gain from the commodification of public goods and the destruction of public service unions, and its 11,000 corps members provide a valuable service to that end.

Teach For America’s Embedded In Black Lives Matter

By Drew Franklin for Orchestrated Pulse - Former Black Panther Bruce Dixon, in his blog for the Black Agenda Report, asked a provocative question last year when he wrote the headline: “‘Teach For America’ Trojan Horse Among Ferguson Activists?” Whether the muted response can be attributed to apathy or ignorance of Teach For America’s activities, the organization carried on with its operation in plain view, and the question seldom came up again. Today, TFA shows no sign of slowing down. For three days in February, the vanguard of the education reform movement will host its 25th Anniversary Summit in Washington, D.C. “Together We Rise” is the tagline for the event, for which they’ve booked two major downtown venues and three hotels.

‘Teach For America’ Workers Are Employees, Can Join Teachers Union

By Patrick Sheehan for In These Times - A National Labor Relations Board hearing officer has ruled that Teach for America teachers should be included in the union at a Detroit charter school chain. (Full disclosure: The author of this piece was a Teach for America teacher at the chain and testified at the NLRB hearing.) Teachers at University Prep charter schools voted May 14 on whether to unionize. The charter chain, UPrep, relies on TFA teachers to fill about 10 percent of its classrooms, a figure that’s similar to urban charter schools in other cities. But when some TFA teachers emerged as leaders in the union drive, Detroit 90/90, the company that manages UPrep, challenged their right to vote. In a June hearing, the company argued that TFA teachers’ minimum two-year commitment to the school made us “temporary service workers” rather than “professional employees”—more like long-term substitutes than permanent teachers.

Confronting Teach For America

One of my students was contacted by a Teach For America recruiting representative, and asked if she was interested in getting involved with the organization. She sent me the note, and I replied that TFA was not welcome in my teacher preparation classes (á la Mark Naison!). I received a reply asking for a meeting, to discuss my “problems with TFA.” And so I met with the two TFA recruiters, both of whom had taught for three years as TFA corps members and then moved into leadership/management roles with the organization. The discussion went just about as well as I thought it would. They asked how they could work more effectively with traditional teacher education programs, and I asked them how they justified sending out recruits with five weeks of “training” into some of the more challenging classrooms in our state.

Harvard Students Ask To Cut Ties With Teach For America

A dozen Harvard University students, members of the Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM), assembled outside a university building on Friday, September 26th, calling on President Drew G. Faust to cut ties with Teach for America unless the AmeriCorps program makes major changes to its organization. The group’s demonstration comes as part of a larger movement initiated by United Students Against Sweatshops, which holds that holds that Teach For America is working to privatize education through its relationships with big-name corporations that are threatening the sanctity of public education.
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