Elsewhere online
August 28, 2015

Teach for America Debate Sharpens as Education Corps Shrinks

Teach for America is going into the new school year with much smaller cohort of new members than two years ago, a trend for which critics of the controversial teacher-training nonprofit are taking credit, The Daily Beast writes. The article also details the group's sharp public-relations response to critical media coverage and online debate about its practices and goals.

Growing division among alumni of the group, which recruits new college graduates for two-year teaching stints in low-income communities, has increasingly played out on social media and in blogs. A new book, Teach for America Counter-Narratives: Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out, gathers critical assessments by the nonprofit's veterans, supplementing ongoing debate among education advocates and teachers' groups over Teach for America's influence and classroom effectiveness.

The 26-year-old nonprofit will place 4,100 new corps members in schools this year, down from 6,000 in 2013 and lowest number since the start of the decade. Critics contend the numbers show their message is reverberating with potential recruits, but Teach for America officials attribute to the decline largely to the economic recovery providing a broader array of opportunities for new graduates.