Tom Ultican has written a scathing critique of TFA as a faux “progressive” political operation whose true goals are to promote privatization and to destroy the teaching profession. TFA supplies the teachers for private charter schools, 90% of which are non-union.

TFA is Bad for America

TFA is the darling of the billionaires. Almost every billionaire foundation has dropped millions into TFA’s big tin cup. In addition, TFA collects $40 million a year from the federal government to place inexperienced teachers in the classroom, few of whom will stay longer than two years.

He writes:

Prior to taking over a classroom, TFA teachers receive just five weeks of training. Their training is test centric and employs behaviorist principles. TFA corps members study Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion.

Lemov never studied education nor taught. He became involved with the no-excuses charter movement in mid-1990s. As glowingly depicted by Elizabeth Green in Building A+ Better Teacher, Lemov observed classrooms to develop his teaching ideas.

Most trained professional educators find Lemov’s teaching theory regressive. Jennifer Berkshire published a post by Layla Treuhaft-Ali on her popular blog and podcast “Have You Heard.” Under the title “Teach Like its 1885” Layla wrote,

“As I was reading Teach Like A Champion, I observed something that shocked me. The pedagogical model espoused by Lemov is disturbingly similar to one that was established almost a century ago for the express purpose of maintaining racial hierarchy.”

Treuhaft-Ali added, “Placed in their proper racial context, the Teach Like A Champion techniques can read like a modern-day version of the *Hampton Idea,* where children of color are taught not to challenge authority under the supervision of a wealthy, white elite

TFA is the billionaires’ army, recruited to keep charters staffed with a rapidly rotating cast of “teachers.”

He writes:

It seems like every major foundation gives to TFA. Besides Gates, Walton, Broad, Dell, Hastings, and Arnold, there is Bradley, Hall, Kaufman, DeVos, Skillman, Sackler and the list goes on. According to the TFA 2016 tax form, the grants TFA received that year totaled more than $245 million. US taxpayer give TFA $40 million a year via the US Department of Education.

The Walton (Walmart) family has provided TFA more than $100,000,000. In 2013, their $20,000,000 grant gave $2,000 more per TFA teacher going to charter schools than for public school teachers.

TFA is great for its executives but it is a disaster for the teaching profession, for children assigned to inexperienced and ill-trained TFA recruits, and for public education.