Show Less
Restricted access

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.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter Five: What Is an Excellent Education? The Role of Theory in Teach For America



What Is an Excellent Education? The Role of Theory in Teach For America

LAURA TAYLOR Houston, 2007–2009


Laura Taylor is currently a doctoral student in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin, where she studies language and literacy practices within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She first encountered Teach For America (TFA) as a sophomore at Cornell University. Laura served as a campus campaign manager for TFA for 2 years while a student at Cornell, working with full-time staff to recruit corps members at her university. After graduating, she joined the 2007 corps and taught in a second grade ESL classroom in Houston, Texas. Laura taught at her placement school for 5 years while earning her master’s in education from the University of Saint Thomas, before moving to Austin to pursue her doctorate. While earning that degree, she works with preservice teachers as a teaching assistant and facilitator.


When people ask me how I became a teacher, I tend to answer in a cautious whisper: “Actually, I was in Teach For America.” My admission is followed by a hurried explanation that I no longer support the program, an attempt to distance myself from those alumni who remain committed to the organization. Teach For America ← 55 | 56 → (TFA) has become almost a guilty secret in my history, rather than a proud accomplishment. It wasn’t always like this, though. When...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.