When I was at TFA institute, Gary Rubinstein hosted a session on classroom management and gave us a signed copy of his book–I still have it even though I never read it. Since then, like me, Gary has become an outspoken critic of TFA. This post by Diane Ravitch shares highlights of Gary’s Open Letter and gives TFA some very specific advice:
“….If you really want to get critics off your back, you’ve got to start asking a different question. You have to get the [TFA] staff members together and ask “What sorts of things are we doing that are bothering the critics so much? What is it about those things that we have such trouble stopping doing them? Do we want to stop doing them? What would it take to stop doing them.” These are the kinds of questions, amorphous TFA Blob, that you need to be asking yourself.”
I couldn’t say it better myself; Diane and Gary nailed it! TFA needs to stop “spinning” its narrative and needs to humbly and sincerely reflect on the organization, its mission, its methods, its definition of an “excellent education,” its recruitment, and its explicit and hidden messages to corps members, communities, and funders. TFA is a Blob, a Blob of the power and with power….and it needs to be held accountable in the same way it is holding students and teachers in this nation accountable.
*For more information on preparing culturally responsive and critical educators/students for social justice, please visit: amberkkim.com