What is the influence of Teach For America?

March 3, 2011 at 9:41 am 1 comment

Below is a blog post from a documentarian who tried to answer the question in the title of this post.  I like stories like this — it’s not all positive or negative, it’s not Tea Party or Christian Coalition, it’s complex and worth trying to make sense of it all.  It’s a particularly relevant story this morning, as news is coming out that TFA is being targeted in the budget battles.  Why does teacher professional development have to become politicized?  Maybe because it is so important?

Fund-raising is tough sledding under normal circumstances, but this was downright depressing.  In every instance, I was asked a bottom line question, essentially “Is it all positive?” or “Is it all negative?”

Well, duh, of course it wasn’t.  We had captured reality, and reality is full of small victories and defeats.  A couple of the TFA teachers were splendid, seemingly born to teach.  Two were flops.  One got a raw deal from his principal and never hit his stride.  It was life, but no potential funders were interested in that story.

We ended up creating seven profiles and putting them on our web site, where you can see them for yourself and make your own judgments.

But it’s a shame that the world of teacher training has become so political. There’s no question that Wendy Kopp and Teach for America have changed the landscape and made a significant contribution.  But let’s not pretend that it’s all good or all bad.

via The Influence of TFA | Taking Note.

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