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Teach For America Counter-Narratives

Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out


Edited By Jameson T. Brewer and Kathleen deMarrais

In its twenty-five years of existence, Teach For America (TFA) has transformed from an organization based on a perceived need to ameliorate a national teacher shortage to an organization that seeks to systematically replace traditional fully-certified teachers while simultaneously producing alumni who are interested in facilitating neoliberal education reform through elected political positions. From its inception, TFA has had its share of critics; yet criticism of the organization by its own members and alumni has largely been silenced and relegated to the margins.
This book – the first of its kind – provides alumni of TFA with the opportunity to share their insight on the organization. And perhaps more importantly, this collection of counter-narratives serves as a testament that many of the claims made by TFA are, in fact, myths that ultimately hurt teachers and students. No longer will alumni voices be silenced in the name of corporate and neoliberal education reform.
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Chapter Ten: Teach For (Whose?) America



Teach For (Whose?) America

JAY SAPER Philadelphia, Summer 2013


Jay Saper was dismissed from Teach For America for standing in solidarity with the Philadelphia community demanding support for their public schools. He received an education from the Philadelphia Student Union, Youth United for Change, Teacher Action Group, Caucus of Working Educators, Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, Parents United for Public Education, and Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Middlebury College, Jay is currently studying to become a social justice educator of young children at Bank Street College. Jay is intrigued by play and other joyful, creative, and cooperative endeavors. He is an activist and organizer involved at the intersection of various struggles to challenge oppression and build a just world.


“I have a $100. Do we have $150? There is a $150. What about a $200?” “Oh yeah, easy!” a confident man shouted as he leaned forward to raise his hand. “Thank you in the back. And $250?” Hands flew up across the room. ← 101 | 102 → “Anyone with $300? All right. Do we have a $350?” One hand remained. The announcer ran over, “Congratulations on winning the How Much Did You Spend At Staples Subsidizing Political Abandonment Game!”

At this Back-To-School Story Slam organized by the Teacher Action Group, a sense of community was prioritized. Educator voices were listened to and validated. The event carved a...

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