So first up, it looks like Renton is getting the full-court press from TFA (even though Renton previously announced they wouldn't be hiring any TFAers). We'll have to see what happens. As well, I'm sure Dr. Enfield's first agenda item is to convince Highline to sign on.
I suspect this is happening for two reasons. One, TFA is probably getting pressure from Stritikus and UW to fill that program. Operating it at a loss (as they did last year) when UW is pressed for money doesn't look or sound good. Two, TFA is probably quite embarrassed that they have gotten any pushback at all.
Also, there's this video from the HBO show "Treme" that features one character doing an anti-TFA rap. The whole thing is funny. (Thanks to Reader X for the tip.)
I also saw this article from US News and World Report about "tips for finding the right college" and look was at the bottom:
Who do you want to work for? A financial conglomerate? A small business on Main Street? Yourself? This isn’t just a hypothetical question—it’s also fairly actionable. Find a handful of companies across diverse interest areas that might seem like a good fit and do some research on which colleges they hire from the most. Some digging might reveal that the companies attend regular career fairs at a particular college or hire a large portion of their employees from a small handful of schools. Enroll at that institution and your ability to network for your dream job will be significantly greater. Teach for America is one example of an organization with virtuous goals and a large hiring footprint. If you start investigating early, you’ll have the leg up on your competition come senior year of college.
TFA is "virtuous"? Well, the large "hiring footprint" and TFA benefits are certainly truths for any graduate. It's like having a gold star on your resume that says, "I'm in the club."
Then there's this from the Teach for Us blog by Gary Rubinstein who is a former TFAer who wants the program to be better.
Speaking for myself, four major adjustments would make TFA something positive. 1) Fix the training. Truly make the 5 weeks as good as possible with ample student teaching, and if that turns out not to be enough, then make a one year training with a lot of subbing and student teaching, 2) Make the commitment at least three years (four if there is a year of training), aggressively encourage successful corps members to become career teachers, and make it clear that nobody should become any kind of ‘leader’ until they have taught at least five years, 3) Shrink the corps to an appropriate size. Maybe it is more than the original size of 500, but it is a lot closer to that than it is to the current 6,000. There are so many corps members, the only way to get jobs for them is to lay off experienced teachers in some districts and 4) Be humble about how little progress TFAers have made in addressing the achievement gap. Use the fact that even the ‘best and brightest’ weren’t able to close the gap so maybe it will take a lot more than ‘great’ teachers to conquer it.
Sounds good to me but Wendy Kopp says that for these young graduates two whole years is a lifetime. Seriously, she said that. Are they coming from college or middle school?
Unfortunately, the universe we’re in has TFA and reformers in a bizarre symbiotic relationship. TFA supplies the leaders and the reformers always make sure to look out for TFA. Reformers even make sure that the legal term ‘highly qualified teacher’ somehow encompasses people who have student taught for 12 hours. Reformers make sure there is a big chunk of taxpayer money subsidizing TFA. TFA and the reformers are so co-mingled, I don’t see how this can ever change.