It’s easy to criticize Teach for America. It’s all about well-off, elitist college graduates who swoop into poor communities to encourage kids of color to become upper-class white people, just like them.
Except that characterization may no longer be true. Dana Goldstein, author of The Teacher Wars, which I recommend, explains how TFA is changing. New co-CEOs Elisa Villanueva Beard and Matt Kramer are thinking critically about the organization and its shortcomings.
Among the highlights:
-TFA is piloting a year-long induction course, much longer than its much-ridiculed five-week version;
-TFA is piloting a program where teachers make a five-year commitment, instead of just two years;
-TFA is now much more diverse than the country’s public school teachers. Take a look at this chart:
No, I’m not ready to say that I’m a TFA convert. But now that Wendy Kopp is out (running Teach for All, a TFA program for the world), and the new co-CEOs are in, I have a little more faith.
“A sporty-looking blonde guy in his mid-thirties rose, identifying himself as an administrator for a small network of Harlem charter schools. He was proud of Teach for America; it had ‘injected a huge amount of human capital into education,’ he said.”