Rebutting 7 Myths About Teach for America
I toned down my rebuttal of Diane Ravitch's critique of TFA and published it on the Huffington Post yesterday:
Diane Ravitch is perhaps the best known critic of education reforms such as charter schools and the Obama Administration's Race to the Top Program, which have been championed by people like Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee. In a recent article, Ravitch set her sights on Teach for America, repeating many common criticisms of this widely celebrated program, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary last weekend in Washington D.C. As one of people who helped Wendy Kopp start TFA in 1989, I feel compelled to respond to her article.
First, she writes that TFA "grossly overstates its role in American education" and holds itself out as "the answer", yet she provides no support for this assertion. In reality, even TFA's biggest champions -- and I'd include myself in that category -- don't claim it's "the answer", but we do claim that it's having an important impact on our K-12 educational system in many fundamental ways (ways in which Ravitch doesn't like, which explains much of her opposition to TFA, I suspect).
Second, she highlights that "most [TFA teachers] will be gone within three years". True, but misleading. Time columnist Andy Rotherham rebutted this in a recent article entitled, Teach for America: 5 Myths That Persist 20 Years On:
Board member of KIPP charter schools in NYC, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Democrats for Education Reform
Posted: February 21, 2011 12:59 PM