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ERIC Number: EJ932756
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0895-6855
Do I Really Teach for America? Reflections of a Teach for America Teacher
Diamond, Alex
Rethinking Schools, v24 n3 p34-37 Spr 2010
If one knows what to look for, it is not hard to spot a Teach for America (TFA) classroom. Typically, on one wall, a "Big Goal" poster proclaims the class objective: "Students will, on average, achieve 80 percent of their learning goals based on state standards." On another, tracking charts show the progress of individual students toward meeting those standards. At the front of the class--or, just as likely, crouched over a student's desk offering help--is the teacher: probably young, probably white, and probably from an upbringing worlds different from the low-income communities of color that TFA targets. As he finishes his two-year commitment to TFA, this author ponders the training and guidance he received. He concludes that, as a member of TFA, and because of its significant influence in public education, he was disappointed by its avoidance of more progressive reforms, pedagogy, and curricular training. This is not, however, particularly surprising if you consider that TFA has grown by leaps and bounds in large part due to its considerable funding base. Closing the achievement gap by providing youth in struggling communities with an excellent education is an easy sell to mainstream corporate donors. Doing so with teaching and open discussions that challenge social power structures and fundamental inequalities might put off TFA donors like Visa and Goldman Sachs, who are deeply entrenched within these power structures. The author states that it may be that TFA is close to all it can be, at least so long as it wishes to maintain its size and influence.
Rethinking Schools, Ltd. 1001 East Keefe Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Tel: 414-964-9646; Fax: 414-964-7220; e-mail: office@rethinkingschools.org; Web site: http://www.rethinkingschools.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A