Faculty and graduate students of education denounced a plan by the University of Minnesota by the university to create a partnership with Teach for America.

To put it mildly, the statement they issued was blistering.

They said, in part,

“Teach for America contributes to creating more exploitative and precarious working conditions for teachers, often displacing career educators and decreasing job opportunities for our Initial Licensure Program teacher candidates and all preservice teachers who seriously study pedagogy and curriculum before heading into the classroom. Further, TFA creates harmful environments for its own recruits, placing them in complicated classroom situations with no real knowledge of pedagogy, let alone the community or the issues of poverty and racism their students often face. In fact, a national ‘resistance to TFA’ summit organized by TFA alums will be taking place later this summer. TFA supports a political agenda that undercuts teacher unions, and that reduces teacher preparation to a quick and dirty “training” program. TFA contributes to shrinking tenure-track professorships in education in exchange for TFA coordinators and adjunct instructor positions. We view the increasing prevalence of TFA-influence in colleges of education as, in the long term, a reckless contribution to the de-skilling and de-professionalizing of us and our fellow public school teachers and faculty.”

They said, “TFA contributes to school inequity more than resisting it…We know that experience and preparedness, strong and meaningful relationships, supportive and well-resourced work and learning conditions, and a serious commitment to students’ lives contributes more to educational equity than inexperienced and underprepared (however well-meaning) TFA recruits who have a high turnover rate after their two years of “service” are completed.

And more:

TFA works against our visions of education.

“Coming from different areas and perspectives within the field of education, we all have various ideas about what education should look like. However, we can agree that TFA is not it. We desire an educational system in which teachers have a long-term stake in their students’ and communities’ futures, in which teachers have the time and support to profoundly develop and refine their teaching and facilitation skills, and in which teachers possess the experience, support, and knowledge to cultivate meaningful pedagogical philosophies. We also recognize that our role is to support these emergent teachers as they transition into the classroom. We recognize that partnering with TFA has the potential to bring more financial resources that could be used to fund our education in the short term. In the long term, we do not think it is worth sacrificing the integrity of our programs, our future aspirations as teacher educators, and our communities and classrooms in aligning with what we believe is an opportunistic, trendy, and short-sighted education “reform” that does not have the education of youth as its top priority.”

The letter was signed by a long list of faculty and graduate students at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. Read it.