Edwatch: Teach for America
|Organization Name:||Teach for America|
|Company Line:||Teach for America recruits outstanding recent college graduates from all backgrounds and career interests to commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. We provide the training and ongoing support necessary to ensure their success as teachers in low-income communities. Our mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our nation's most promising future leaders in the effort.|
|Bottom Line:||Teach for America is an elitist organization that recruits non-teachers to educate America's most vulnerable students at a premium price. Research shows that the program does harm to children, does not close the achievement gap as claimed, and costs taxpayers millions. Founder Wendy Kopp has no education training or expertise, but she is extremely effective at asking very rich people, corporations, and the federal government for millions of dollars and getting it. Teach for America perpetuates the myth that anyone with a college degree is a teacher. It is a recruiting and placement service. Until 2011, eligibility requirements stipulated that education majors and licensed teachers were prohibited from joining. TFA has gone to great expense to market the company as the “peace corps” of teaching. It is not. Its placements are not teachers and not volunteers. Recruits agree to teach for two years and then move on to a real career. In addition to a regular teacher's salary, TFA placements are given two $5,000 awards to pay for college expenses. The awards are provided by the federal government through Americorps, whose funding is appropriated to aid volunteer organizations in America's poorest communities. An exception has be made for TFA. TFA “teachers” are given preferable access to teaching jobs over regular teachers especially in public charter schools funded by Gates and Broad. TFA hires highly paid administrators, who also are not educators, to “coach” and assist its placements.|
|Major Donors:||Wachovia Corporation, Visa Inc., U.S. Department Of Education, State Farm, Robertson Foundation, Robert Steel, C.D. Spangler Foundation, Toni Rembe And Arthur Rock, Rainwater Charitable Funds, Quail Hollow Championship And Champions For Education, NewSchools Venture Fund, New York City Department Of Education, James And Marsha McCormick, Sue And Steve Mandel, Melanie And Richard Lundquist, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Glenview Capital, Doris & Donald Fisher Fund, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Carnegie Corporation Of New York, The Broad Foundation, Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, The Arnold Family Foundation, Amgen Foundation, AmeriCorps|
|Where the Money Goes|
990 Tax Documents:
The author of this article is the editor of conservative education reform blog, Eduwonk, which is funded by the B&M Gates Foundation. TIME magazine has been kind to Teach for America these past 20 years and is a major purveyor of propaganda that has catapulted the organization to undeserved favor. The reason these "myths" persist 20 years later is that they are not myths. Many students cite TFA as a resume builder, and in this day and age of high unemployment, snagging a teaching job is a last resort of college grads who can't find work in there own field. There are four major studies that show that TFA recruits do real harm to students they teach and cost taxpayers on average $70,000 dollars more than regular teachers. Some studies paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation do conflict with these studies. Teach for America does have the influence and connections to place recruits in education positions of power -- in fact, Wendy Kopp says TFA isn't about producing effective teachers but about choosing future leaders. Teach for America is not scalable. The overhead required to fund the program is hundreds of millions of dollars each year, and that amount does not pay one teacher's salary. TFA does not provide more training than is commonly assumed. In Barbara Veltri's book, Learning on Other People's Kids, over 400 former TFA recruits report that training provided by TFA and the support provided after bootcamp did not prepare them to teach.
John Bilby tells about his disappointing experience as a former Teach for America recruit.