Jay Matthews, education columnist for The Washington Post, recently called the appointing of a Teach For America alumna as chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools the latest development in “a TFA insurgency.” The article highlighted innovative programs created by the corps’ well-connected veterans and quoted an education think tank manager who teases TFA alumni about “their apparent plans for world domination.” Teacher blogger and TFA alum Jessica Shyu, who now works for the program, expressed disappointment with the article, saying that she thinks school reform should be a group effort. “Sure, many TFA alums are emerging as leaders of schools and other sectors. But to me, the point isn’t to take over the system. The point is to energize everyone to take over the system together,” she said.
What do you think of the prominent roles of Teach For America alumni in the education sector? What sort of influence do you think TFA has had on teaching and schools? How can TFA vets and graduates from traditional teacher-prep programs work together to steer education reform in the right direction?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Talkback blog.