DC Chillin

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 30 2012

Reality Israel…or why I’m more optimistic about TFA than I used to be

Just got back from the Reality Israel trip. For those who have not heard of it, TFA pays for 70+ corps members to travel to Israel for 12 days, hear from educators and leaders, and engage in discussions about education, leadership, and inequity. For free. Yes, you heard that right. All expenses paid.

Perhaps I’ll write more about the trip and my takeaways another time. For now, I wanted to give two reasons I’m more optimistic about TFA than I used to be. (Disclaimer…in the past, I have ranted against TFA. Particularly during the “Dark Days” of September-December of year one.)

1) On this trip, I had the chance to meet several people who are pretty high up on TFA Staff. And contrary to what I may have expected, their views on education and what it will take to close the achievement gap are different, nuanced, and evolving. Contrary to what Gary Rubinstein might have you believe (and I read Gary’s blog and think it’s well worth reading), TFA is not some lock-step organization behind the scenes. TFA National Staff is committed to continuously improving TFA and changing the organization to best meet the needs of students.

2) Although I’m still not convinced bringing rookies in to teach kids is the best solution, the quality of people TFA is bringing into the education game is astounding. I met many corps members on this trip that may have struggled in their first year, but ultimately became (or will become) outstanding teachers and outstanding advocates for low-income students in the future.

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