Gary Rubinstein began his post-college career in Teach for America. He was idealistic as are other recruits to TFA and eager to make a contribution to society. He worked in TFA and remained a loyal member for many years. But when he went to the TFA anniversary party along with the most powerful figures in American education, he got turned off. See his story here, when he spoke recently at Tufts University, his alma mater.

Rubinstein viewed the latest video from TFA CEO Elisa Villanueva-Beard and listened attentively. She has three big ideas. Two of them bash experienced teachers, who are “the status quo.”

Rubinstein learned the hard way that “high expectations” and “believing” are necessary, but not sufficient to be a good teacher. Contrary to TFA, experience matters.

Big Idea #2 — experienced teachers are lazy because they don’t believe their students can learn.

Big Idea #3 is that non-TFA teachers feel sorry for their students instead of working hard. Experienced teachers use their energy on pity for their students rather than working hard to teach them.

If only high expectations were enough!

He points out this irony:

One of the most ironic things about Elisa Villanueva-Beard is that she makes these oversimplified claims about how the problem in education is the status quo with low expectations while her own husband runs the YES prep schools in Houston which have a large number of TFA teachers. One of those schools, according to the latest 2018 rankings, is an F rated school and out of 328 rated schools in Houston, it is rated 312th.

Teaching is hard work. Change is incremental. High expectations and hard work are necessary; good preparation and experience enhance both.