Is Teach For America Good For America?

Bringing young, motivated, super smart college graduates into low-income, under-performing schools with the aim to help lessen the educational gap for low-income kids sounds like a great idea, right? Teach For America, and about 46,000 applicants (in 2011) think so.

At least in theory, it sounds like a great way to bring bright, young professionals into classrooms that they otherwise might not have come to. There’s a lot of press surrounding Teach For America (and similar programs), especially since they have become so popular among recent college graduates.

What we tend to hear less about is opposition to Teach For America. Like everything, there are two sides to every issue, and Teach For America is no exception. So what are the naysayers citing as their reasons for thinking that Teach For America leaves something to be desired? We’d love to hear what you think – do you agree or disagree with the reasons that the handy infographic below outlines?

teach for america visualized

1 Comment

  1. Farrah

    November 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Totally agree with the above stated sentiments. I have worked side-by-side teaching with TFA folks, coached them, provided training and hired several well qualified individuals. The biggest issue I have found between the traditionalists and TFA is that they come into the educational environment with an attitude of “we are here to do the jobs you can’t.” Several experiences have been negative and they act as though they are untouchable and the magic that will fix all educational woes. The lack if mature professionalism is rampant as they will often cluster together, act out in PD and ignore school and/or district expectations.
    In high needs schools where students, especially high school students, are 3 maybe 4 years behind. They hold less than a 5th grade reading level and embrace fight or flight because they cannot access curriculum I have seen little to no evidence of highly effective TFA teachers. The classroom management strategies are limited as well as the actual teaching strategies that support high needs at-risk youth. Take a class of 17 year old third time 9th graders and put a 22 year old TFA in front of them with a summer of training…I ask, what would you expect to happen? Many of my veteran teachers are getting wiped out and they know and understand the system and have multiple strategies to pull from based on experience.