Below is a list of links/resources to websites/blogs/articles, etc. that offer a balanced and/or critical perspective of TFA and other related educational endeavors. I’ve found many of these sites to be hilarious, moving, thoughtful, healing, relatable, etc. Enjoy! I’ll continue to make updates about various resources I find online in my quest to recover from TFA!
http://www.drbarbaraveltri.com/ – Website by a professor from Northern Ariz. Univ. who has written “Learning on Other People’s Kids: Becoming a Teach For America Teacher.” She offers a fantastic, in-depth, critical yet sympathetic look at TFA and the plight of many TFA teachers. She’s also been a fantastic personal contact and support for me via email, phone, etc.
http://www.tfa-thoughts.blogspot.com/ – Blog that offers a balanced yet critical reflection on the TFA experience from a former Corps Member in the Rio Grande Valley who dropped out after semester due to exhaustion/stress/physical problems – has some great blog posts on personality traits that would be helpful to have as an inner city teacher (something I wish I had read before doing TFA, since I possess almost none of the ones he lists…lol), good and bad reasons to do TFA, etc. Brief, but very thoughtful!
http://crowsandthieves.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/ms-taylor-tells-all-true-confessions-of-a-teach-for-america-drop-out-epilogue/ – Great series of journal entries, reflections, etc. from a TFA drop-out who had a gawd-awful experience…I can totally relate to many of her thoughts and quotes…eminently human and relatable.
http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/2011/02/live-blogging-from-teach-for-america.html – A critical blogger who was a TFA member (and is still teaching) and attended TFA’s 20th Anniversary Summit. A helpful counterpoint perspective to the massive education privatization/charter school worship that TFA has come to represent.
http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/24_03/24_03_TFA.shtml – Very detailed and well-written article questioning many aspects of TFA. This article exposes many interesting facts about TFA such as the fact that their highly-bragged-about statistic that “2/3 of their alumni are still in education” is based on an alumni-only survey that only had a 45% response rate, etc.
http://www.greatlakescenter.org/docs/Policy_Briefs/Heilig_TeachForAmerica.pdf – Thorough, peer-reviewed research study done on the effectiveness of TFA. Ultimately, this study comes up with the following recommendations: a) Support TFA staffing only when the alternative hiring pool consists of uncertified and emergency teachers or substitutes. b) Consider the significant recurring costs of TFA, estimated at over $70,000 per recruit, and press for a five-year commitment to improve achievement and reduce re-staffing and c) Invest strategically in evidence-based educational reform options that build long-term capacity in schools.