I received the following comment from a TFA advocate, in response to a blog about the outspoken and brilliant Camika Royal:
In my experience with TFA, which stretches across over a decade, at local and at national levels, Dr. Royal is not the exception, but a shining example of the kind of person who joins, then runs (she was on staff for a number of years) TFA and who then moves on to contribute in thoughtful ways to education. Granted, she is exceptionally incisive, but the difference between her and many other TFA alumni is one of degree, not of kind.
Whatever it may look like from the outside, TFA is one of the most self-critical organizations I have ever seen, always questioning its own presumptions and seeking ways to more effectively serve students and schools. If you disagree with its premise, that’s fair. If you say that a number of its young teachers are arrogant, you’re right. But they are not the majority, and they don’t reflect the ethos of the organization. To be critical of TFA is merited, but the wholesale TFA bashing that has become a sport on this blog and elsewhere is simple-minded scapegoating that distracts from the real issues, which are much more nuanced than the good guy/bad guy scenario that appeals to lazy thinkers. More importantly, it is a missed opportunity. Whether you agree with its mission or not, TFA is an efficient and well-run educational organization, which is why it thrives even in difficult times. That’s a rare animal in our world, and we ought to be asking not how we can take it down, but what we can learn from it to apply to our own efforts.
This was my response to the comment:
TFA would be regarded in a positive light if it did the following things: