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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 Fourteen: Good Intentions Gone Bad: Teach For America’s Transformation from a Small, Humble Nonprofit into an Elitist Corporate Behemoth



Good Intentions Gone Bad: Teach For America’s Transformation from a Small, Humble Nonprofit into an Elitist Corporate Behemoth

WENDY CHOVNICK Houston Summer Institute, 1998; Bronx Summer Institute, 2001; Washington, D.C. Corps Member, 2001–2003; Phoenix Staff Member, 2009–2012


Wendy Heller Chovnick graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 with a degree from Wharton in public policy and a degree from the College of Arts and Sciences in urban studies. While studying in Philadelphia, she focused her academic and volunteer work on the topic of urban public education. Originally, Wendy was a 1998 New Orleans corps member. After coming down with mononucleosis during the summer training, she received an emergency release, and rejoined Teach For America as a 2001 D.C. corps member. She taught middle school math at Paul Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. and remained at her placement school for 4 years, 2 as a classroom teacher and 2 as the GEAR-UP coordinator. Wendy attended law school in Washington, D.C. and moved home to Arizona in 2008. She worked as the chief of staff to the Teach For America executive director in Phoenix from 2009 through 2012. ← 141 | 142 →


Teach For America (TFA) has a compelling mission and thousands of well-intentioned, hardworking, and intelligent corps members and staff members working towards its ambitious goals. Yet, how the organization functions and the questionable impact it is having, given its vast resources, are...

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