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Teach For America Counter-Narratives

Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out

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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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Praise for Teach For America Counter-Narratives

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“Finally, a detailed indictment of one of the most nefarious organizations to attack teachers and public education in over a generation. TFA has long enjoyed support from corporations and politicians (and a duped public) who know little to nothing about the intricacies and nuances of good teaching and quality education. This volume peels back the arrogant veneer of assumption and misinformation that characterizes the real TFA. For anyone interested in understanding the importance of critical scholarship in public life, this work is a long-overdue, much-needed, and insightful counter-narrative to the lies TFA continues to propagate. It’s a must-read for anyone who cares about public schooling in the U.S.”

Deron Boyles, Professor of Philosophy of Education, Georgia State University

“This collection provides a timely and much-needed critical analysis of Teach For America (TFA) from the perspective of a diverse set of former corps members. For those seeking to move beyond narratives that are distilled through TFA’s public relations arm, or the often simplistic, back-and-forth debates about TFA, this book provides first-person, nuanced, and thoughtful analyses and reflections of teaching and education reform. Readers will walk away with a more complex understanding of TFA’s role in teaching, educational policy, and educational leadership.”

Janelle Scott, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education & African American Studies Department, University of California at Berkeley

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