Teach For America Counter-Narratives: Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out

Teach For America (TFA) has, in its 25 years of existence, transformed from an organization that began from a perceived need to ameliorate a national teacher shortage to an organization that seeks to systematically replace traditionally fully-certified teachers while simultaneously producing alumni who are interested in facilitating neoliberal education reform through elected political positions. From its inception, TFA has had its share of critics; yet, critique and criticism of the organization by its own corps members and alumni have largely been silenced and relegated to the margins. This book – the first of its kind – provides alumni of TFA with the opportunity to share their important insight on the organization. And perhaps more importantly, this collection of counter-narratives serves as a testament that many of the claims made by TFA are, in fact, myths that ultimately hurt teachers and students. No longer will alumni voices be silenced in the name of corporate and neoliberal education reform.  Click here for the book's Facebook page.  #TFACounterNarratives on Twitter.

What People Are Saying...

"Explosive and jaw-dropping"..."[These] essays eviscerate the myth of TFA's unmitigated success by detailing the organization's high-pressure bait-and-switch recruitment tactics, an emphasis on prestige and future career prospects, inspirational slogans overlaying inadequate preparation, and the fear instilled in corps members who do not perform up to metrics-mandated standards...These troubling first-person accounts should give pause to anyone interested in how major education policy players shape reform movements through money and great marketing." - Esther Cepeda (Syndicated Columnist, The Washington Post Writers Group).

​"Finally, a detailed indictment of one of the most nefarious organizations to attack teachers and public education in over a generation...This volume peels back the arrogant veneer of assumption and misinformation that characterizes the real TFA.  For anyone interested in understanding the importance of critical scholarship in public life, this work is a long-overdue, much-needed, and insightful counter-narrative to the lies TFA continues to propagate.  It's a must-read for anyone who cares about public schooling in the U.S." - Deron Boyles (Professor, Georgia State University)

"This collection provides a timely and much-needed critical analysis of TFA from the perspective of a diverse set of former corps members. For those seeking to move beyond narratives that are distilled through TFA's public relations arm, or the often simplistic, back-and-forth debates about TFA, this book provides first-person, nuanced, and thoughtful analyses and reflections of teaching and education reform. Readers will walk away with a more complex understanding of TFA's role in teaching, educational policy, and educational leadership." - Janelle Scott (Associate Professor, UC Berkeley)

"I love the concept for this text and think it will be a significant contribution to the literature. It is crucial...crucial...that policy makers in particular hear from former TFA members about their experiences in America’s classrooms. The experiences of the authors lend a credibility to their arguments and concerns about TFA’s continued presence that has been largely absent in previous scholarship." - Philip Kovacs (Associate Professor of Education, University of Alabama in Huntsville)​​

"This impressive collection of essays, written by Teach For America (TFA) alumni, offers a well-rounded, meticulous, and sharp critique of TFA. Former TFA teachers and program directors shine light on the personal struggles and cognitive dissonance TFA recruits face as underprepared teachers entering some of the nation’s most challenged school communities. The authors analyze TFA’s ideology, practices, and resistance to criticism, drawing links to neoliberalism, white supremacy, and systemic oppression. TFA alumni who are trying to make sense of their experiences may find comfort in this book; those looking in will be alarmed by the connections to the larger corporate education reform movement." - Rethinking Schools
"[One] plausible reason for the great lack in applications [to TFA] is the backlash TFA has been receiving from its alumni in a tell-all book with 20 contributors co-edited by one of its old teachers, Jameson Brewer. The Daily Beast reports that the book Teach for America Counter-Narratives: Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out" is rife with criticisms, everything from TFA's recruitment process to the actual teaching experience, and a lot of stuff in between." - The Parent Herald 

​"The picture that emerges [from the book] - of overworked, disillusioned corps members - is distinctly at odds with the way TFA presents itself internally and externally." - Jacobin