Teach for America is an amazing organization. It has a board of directors with some of the most powerful corporate leaders in the nation. In its twenty two years, it has sent about 33,000 young college graduates to teach for a while in the nation’s neediest schools. This year, about 10,000 corps members started teaching.
Wendy Kopp often says that the TFA mission is not to replace the nation’s teachers, which is clearly impossible at the rate of 10,000 per year or even double or triple that number, but to produce leaders. It is interesting to note that the three most notable graduates of the program are Michelle Rhee, John White, and Kevin Huffman–all of whom advocate for charters and vouchers. Rhee is raising millions to fund politicians who want to eliminate collective bargaining rights and due process rights for teachers. Huffman and White are state commissioners who are implementing legislation to accomplish these ends, as they advance privatization.
With more leaders like these three, you have to wonder about whether public education has a future or whether it will be just a lot of chain stores with hourly employees.
TFA may be the most effective fund-raising operation in the education sector. Between 2006 and 2010, TFA raised $907 million dollars in gifts from foundations, corporations, and other sources.
And a little TFA kerfuffle. Wendy Kopp claimed in a recent interview that TFA members stay in teaching for eight years. Anthony Cody doesn’t believe it.
Neither does Jersey Jazzman. They want to see some proof.
Additionally, Jersey Jazzman called out Wendy Kopp for retelling the discredited story of Michelle Rhee’s brief and miraculous stint as a teacher in a Baltimore school twenty years ago.
Never a dull moment in the world of education reform.