Every spring, without fail, a Teach For America recruiter approaches me and asks if they can come to my classes and recruit students for TFA, and every year, without fail, I give them the same answer.
Until Teach For America becomes committed to training lifetime educators and raises the length of service to five years rather than two, I will not allow TFA to recruit in my classes. The idea of sending talented students into schools in impoverished areas, and then after two years encouraging them to pursue careers in finance, law, and business in the hope that they will then advocate for educational equity really rubs me the wrong way.
It was not always thus. Ten years ago, when a Teach For America recruiter first approached me, I was enthusiastic about the idea of recruiting my most idealistic and talented students for work in poor schools. I allowed TFA representative to make presentations in my classes, filled with urban studies and African American studies majors. Several of my best students applied, all of whom wanted to become teachers, and most of whom came from the kind of high-poverty neighborhoods where TFA proposed to send its recruits.