Well, I’m still working on my post on why I do not support TFA. Along the way of writing it\looking for supporting evidence, I was overwhelmed by how many posts exist from former and current TFA corp members. I understand my perspective is very limited, so it’s important I provide authentic words from others with different experiences with TFA (TFA provides a blog where corp members can write about their experiences here: teachforus.org).
Although this is included in my piece, I figured putting it in a separate post could give some a head start since my upcoming post is really long, which is why it’s taking me forever.
So for now, feel free to read through these posts on why others are iffy on TFA.
Also, just for clarification purposes, remember I am not here to attack TFA or “destroy” them, nor to tell people what to think. I am simply trying to present facts that often go overlooked or easily hidden by all the glory and prestige (I have this strange and unconditional love for truth). Additionally, some may be confused to why I am writing such a post (I know, I know, jeeze Stephanie, wasn’t criticicizing SFER enough?) A few days ago I made a status on facebook that stated I do not support TFA, and then I was bombarded with questions why (you would have thought people thought I was the devil)…so now I’m writing up my answer.
Hope to have my piece up soon. Remember, any questions\concerns\desire for discussion: SRRivera92@gmail.com.
Have a great Friday, and stay skeptical :)
August 14, 2012 – TFA is not a monolith – Post from current TFA member
Namely, TFA is compelled to demonstrate its effectiveness through improving student standardized test outcomes. People in education recognize the folly in this, but the business community that comprises a great deal of TFA’s funding are either uninterested or uninformed about the perils of reading too much into high-stakes standardized test data, particularly using that data to determine the efficacy of a teacher.
August 10, 2012 – An E-mail I Received from current TFA member
I ultimately want to end up in education policy, either k-12 or higher ed, in some capacity after TFA. I joined TFA because I think that at this point in the game to go into education policy TFA is the easiest/most direct route. I also want to be able to have the experience of having been a corps member when I go into policy so that when (and it is a when, not an if) I critique TFA I have some legitimacy.
That being said, my most serious concern with TFA is the emphasis they place on charter schools. I think that the more focus there is on charter schools and school vouchers reliable options for our educational inequality woes there is, the less of a focus there is on what we actually need to do – fix our public school education system. In my opinion, charter schools are actually extending the achievement gap, not closing it as they are credited with doing, because even to just apply to one parents often must have the know
July 15, 2012 – Why I Quit Teach for America
TFA used to be a solution to a problem of teacher shortages in high-need areas, but now it has itself become the problem. I won’t pretend that quitting wasn’t selfish, but I haven’t regretted it for a second. I quit for myself, to save my health and sanity
June 12, 2012 – Why I Quit TFA after my first year | Mr. Parello Sensei
Despite my first year disillusionment with TFA, I do not oppose the organization and I started a blog on this site with the aim of adding my voice to those wanting to improve the organization, not undermine it.
May 28, 2012 – Occupy TFA | 1991 TFA Alumni
May 19, 2012 – Why I Left Teach for America | Teaching in the D
To any current or future corps member, please remember that you can be happy. If that’s being in the corps, then do it with all your might and know there is a silent corps ready to support you. But if it isn’t, don’t be afraid to leave.
May 17, 2012 – I’ve Always Hated Teach for America – Reasons Why I Quit 5 Years Ago
I joined Teach for America when I graduated from undergrad with the intention of using it as a tool to get me in a school and teach for the rest of my life. Much to my surprise, I found out rather quickly how TFA has no intention of creating life-long educators.
December 19, 2011 – Why I Don’t Teach For America Anymore
Another not so ugly truth is my students are not charity cases. They deserve a legitimate teacher, not some idealistic graduate student barely scraping by with her sanity.
September 7, 2011 – Why I Quit Teach for America
If it wasn’t for the kids, I wouldn’t be here. I would not have stayed this long. And I also feel I am leaving for the kids. I can better serve the kids in a different role. Do I know what that role is yet? No, but I know that I won’t discover it by struggling through two years in a classroom, checking illusory boxes that don’t actually put me any closer to discovering what role I will play.
October 31, 2011 – Why I Did TFA and why you shouldn’t
If I were ‘America’ I would have this to say to TFA: While I appreciate your offer to ‘teach’ for me, I’ve already got enough untrained teachers for my poorest kids. And if teaching is just a stepping stone, for you, on the path to becoming an influential education ‘leader,’ thanks, but no thanks to that too.
August 30, 2011 – TFA: A Disillusioned Corps Member’s Experience
When one of my special needs students couldn’t tell me how many quarters were in a dollar, should I have skipped over that information to make sure he can find the surface area of a cylinder because he’ll be tested on it? The answer from both my TFA and charter school supervisors was “Yes.”
May 22, 2011 – Answers (Or, how it feels to quit TFA) | The Untold Teacher Story
I sat through a workshop at a TFA Professional Development Saturday last November designed to help solve management issues, and I was stunned by the sense of despair that permeated the room. In a group of perhaps twenty corps members, everyone was on the verge of giving up. And everyone gave the same reasons: “I stand there, and I talk, and then I yell, and then I beg, and then I threaten, and still no one has heard a word I’ve said. It’s like I’m invisible. I might as well not be there.”
March 5, 2011 – Why I Am Quitting TFA
Do I disagree with TFA’s mission? Not even the slightest bit. Do I think that TFA works, though? I can only speak from personal experience, and I have to say the heartbreaking word that none of us want to hear — the very same word that I should have said in my own fateful email last November: No.
May 18, 2010 – Why I Quit Teach For America
I don’t think I view the group with any kind of outright hostility…(I think the group is very aware of its flaws, and is working…relentlessly…to fix them), but I couldn’t feel good about what I was doing.
April 7, 2010 – True Confessions of a TFA Drop-Out
She said that she also gets nervous when people say they are thinking of joining Teach for America: “How do you tell them, ‘Teach for America took the brightest, most amazing person I knew and just totally F***ED her.’”
I Quit TFA, Will it Hurt Me? Question on Top-Law-Schools.com Forum
Starry-eyed grads are actually one of the worst part of the TFA program. The idea that one is engaging in some awesome, progressive action is emphasized, while the actual reality, and drudgery, of teaching is not. Thus, you end up with people entering, thinking they will change the educational system by two years in an underserved school, look around and say “Oh, this is bullshit.”