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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 Fifteen: “I Confess, I Am a TFA Supporter. But…”



“I Confess, I Am a TFA Supporter. But…”

WALT ECTON Metro Atlanta, 2010–2012


Walt Ecton was a 2010 Teach For America (TFA) corps member, teaching high school social studies for 2 years at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia. During his time at Washington High School, Walt coached girls’ and boys’ tennis, advised a number of clubs, and was named the principal’s “Teacher of the Year.” He also cofounded Emory Student Shadows, though which hundreds of high school students received a mentor at Emory University and had the opportunity to spend a day at the university one-on-one with their mentors, and the Policy Leadership Track, for TFA corps members interested in education policy. Before teaching, Walt earned his bachelor’s degree at Emory University and a master’s degree in peace and conflict studies at the University of St. Andrews. Walt currently serves as an associate director of member services at the Education Advisory Board, a best-practice research and technology firm in Washington, D.C.


I support Teach For America (TFA); allow me to explain. I believe TFA brings into the teaching profession bright young minds who wouldn’t have otherwise considered the classroom. I believe TFA brings creative energy, excitement, and ← 155 | 156 → innovation into an environment where all are sorely needed. I believe TFA raises public awareness about the challenges of urban and rural education and the need for our country to invest...

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