Elsewhere online
December 03, 2014

Teach for America at 25 Faces Criticism and Tweaks Mission

NPR offers a broad assessment of the state of Teach for America as the influential and controversial education corps, which sends new college graduates to teach in low-income school districts for two years, marks its 25th anniversary.

Drawn from interviews with two dozen Teach for America employees, alumni, and current teachers, the wide-ranging article terms TFA "an organization in flux that doesn't openly admit it's in flux," affirming its longtime core mission but making changes aimed at boosting minority participation, offering more extensive training for recruits, and encouraging them to keep teaching beyond their two-year stints.

The article addresses research on the group's classroom effectiveness; its ties to the charter-school movement; the strong presence of past recruits in the leadership of schools, districts, and education nonprofits; and criticism—increasingly from TFA alumni—that the organization displaces experienced teachers and disproportionately blames them rather than external factors, such as poverty, for poor performance in low-income schools.