Teach For America and the Struggle for Urban School Reform

Searching for Agency in an Era of Standardization

by Katy Crawford-Garrett (Author)
Textbook VIII, 137 Pages


This book traces the experiences of one cohort of Teach For America (TFA) corps members as they reconcile their hopes for their students with the reality of teaching in a district that favors compliance over compassion. Drawing on ethnographic and practitioner inquiry methods, Crawford-Garrett highlights the voices of the teachers as they wrestle with urban poverty, question bureaucratic mandates, resist dehumanizing reform initiatives, and experiment with critical pedagogy. The book examines how their socialization into the profession positions them as passive recipients of knowledge and engenders deficit ideologies of students, families, and communities. Ultimately, this book attends to the role of the teacher educator in introducing multiple educational lenses to the corps members and asserts that the university methods course can encourage new teachers to (1) critically engage with the institutional settings which shape their experiences, (2) question and problematize deficit ideologies, and (3) adopt and enact identities as knowledgeable practitioners.


VIII, 137
ISBN (Book)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2013. 137 pp.

Biographical notes

Katy Crawford-Garrett (Author)

Katherine Crawford-Garrett, an assistant professor at Ithaca College, holds an EdD from the Reading/Writing/Literacy program at the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in English literature from the Breadloaf School of English. Dr. Crawford-Garrett has been exploring urban education for the past 15 years as a 5th grade teacher, teacher educator, researcher, and scholar.


Title: Teach For America and the Struggle for Urban School Reform