Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out
Edited By Jameson T. Brewer and Kathleen deMarrais
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.
Chapter Nineteen: Voices of Revitalization: Challenging the Singularity of Teach For America’s “Echo Chamber”
Voices of Revitalization: Challenging the Singularity of Teach For America’s “Echo Chamber”
BARBARA TORRE VELTRI
Barbara Torre Veltri is an associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Northern Arizona University. Her research interests include teacher education, Teach For America, and collecting first-person narratives to inform the teaching of history. She is the author of Learning on Other People’s Kids: Becoming a Teach For America Teacher (Information Age Publishers, 2010).
Teach For America (TFA) is viewed as a results-driven blueprint for educational reform (Alter, 2011; Will, 2011). The organization recruits and trains recent college graduates through a corporate-like model that espouses leadership and teaching-as-service (Brewer, 2012; Kopp & Farr, 2011). By design, TFA is highly competitive. In 2014, Teach For America accepted only 14% of its applicant pool (Teach For America, 2014). Teach For America instills its organizational truths to incoming corps members (CMs) (Kopp, 2001; Kopp & Farr, 2011). To this end, a singular, robust, and paternalistic socialization develops one’s “thinking like a corps member” (Veltri, 2010, p.112). This collective mindset intersects with ← 191 | 192 → private sector, neoliberal, and neoconservative agendas (Hill, 2013; Kovacs, 2007; Lahann & Reagan, 2011).
Teach For America’s Singular Voice
In 1994 TFA applied for, and assumed, the role of America’s National Teacher Corps, a designation that enables the nonprofit to receive millions of dollars from the federally funded Corporation for National Community...
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