Peter Greene was pleased to learn that the number of applications to Teach for America has steadily declined since 2013. In a way, it’s not surprising because “the entire teaching professional pipeline has been drying up.” TFA blames the pandemic but it’s decline started long before the pandemic.

TFA used to boast that it’s ill-trained recruits were superior to those with professional training, even to experienced teachers (who allegedly did not have “high expectations” like TFA). But you don’t hear much of that boasting any more.

Greene writes:

TFA has long been mocked for putting their people in classrooms with little training or support, but the damage done by unqualified rookies in the classroom has been dwarfed by the damage done by their products after they leave the classroom. TFA has unleashed a small army of “former teachers” and “education experts” who spent two whole years in the classroom (knowing full well that they weren’t going to stay, and therefor had no real reason to try to learn and develop professional understanding) but now feel qualified to tell actual teachers what to do. It has become predictably cliche–scratch almost every clueless edupreneur and amateur hour policy leader who claims to have started out as a teacher, and you find a TFA product.

Worse, for the past few years they’ve been leaning into that part of their mission, that “spend a couple of years in a classroom as a way to launch your career as a policy leader and education thought leader who can spread the gospel of reformsterism.” This has turned out to be the most damaging legacy of TFA, and the fewer people they recruit to carry it on, the better of the world of US education will be.