My email exchange with a first-year TFA corps member continues to generate lots of comments. Here are two: first, an email from Van Schoales, one of the founders of DFER-Colorado and Exec Dir of Education Reform Now:
I really enjoyed reading the exchange below. I just wanted to give thanks for your bombs. As you rightly point out, I think they help all of us in the grand movement even though I do occasionally cringe at language like "thugs" though that is how they often behave. Adults first in most instances.
The note caused me to reflect back on my first year teaching where on my first official day I stood in solidarity with my union picketing the district over a pay dispute. We won! The next year after working hard to change the schedule of our high school so adults could have a better knowledge of the kids and reduce the total student load I discovered to my surprise that it was the union that had worked hard for the professional development minutes (where most just sat in class grading papers or other class prep work) that tried to block it. They eventually watered down any real change. I was the union building leader for a few years but even that did not matter.
I unfortunately did not have the good fortune of TFA as an option when I started in '87. I left a PhD at Brown to enter teaching and had to go to Stanford's STEP program which had many great aspects but I would have benefited more on the teaching front by going to TFA...if only I were a few years younger or spent a couple of years bumming around the world!
Keep the emails flying!