Bachelor of Arts
Teach for America, Support, School, Students, Teachers, Success, Education
Teach for America (TFA) aims to some day make it possible for every American child to receive a great education. As means to that end TFA attempts to get teachers "willing to go above and beyond the constraints of the system to ensure that their students excel" into classrooms, to encourage "long-term, sustained leadership in education;" and to "change the prevailing ideology around educational inequity," which supports a rationalization that poor children achieve less than others because they are unmotivated and do not receive support at home (see www.teachforamerica.org). The organization argues that teachers alone cannot change the system, but that by influencing future leaders it can make the issue of educational equity a major focus for policy and funding. Corps members are at once conceived of as teachers and as backers-in-training.
TFA argues that these are complements- no learning without good teachers, no support for learning without backers, and no faith in the power of teaching without a change in ideology. While all are important, because support, faith in teaching, and good teachers already exist a program which increased only one of them could be sufficient to change education, though not necessarily enough to achieve TFA's goal. However, it is possible that by recruiting, selecting, and training teachers for all three goals the program does not achieve each of them to the best of its ability. For the purposes of this analysis, I assume that while creating backers and changing ideology almost definitely improve education in the long run, school districts that are involved with TFA need to know that the program at least does no harm to current students, and ideally improves their immediate outcomes.
Prenovitz, Sarah, "The Effect of Teach for America Teachers Outside Their Classrooms" (2008). Honors Papers. 442.