Whether you are:
- a passionate opponent of TFA
- a prospective TFA corps member
- a current TFA member
- a TFA alumni
- a TFA employee
- a student who has heard about TFA
- or just someone who wants to know what the acronym TFA stands for…
We would like to welcome you to the official website for the Students Resisting Teach for America campaign, hosted by Students United for Public Education (SUPE). This campaign was created to build a resistance movement to the model and approach of Teach for America (TFA), an organization that trains its corps members for five weeks before placing them as full-time instructors in low-income, high-need classrooms across America.
For years, college campuses across the country have been the core recruiting ground for TFA. For many soon-to-be graduates, concerned as they should be with the rampant inequality embedded in American public schools, TFA appears to be an opportunity to make a difference. Using the rhetoric of civil rights and egalitarian politics, TFA promises ambitious college students that their hard work and good intentions are a crucial component of what it will take to fix the crisis within our education system. Yet, as numerous TFA alums and professionals have made it increasingly clear, rather than fighting inequality, TFA actually promotes it. Despite its image as a social justice organization, TFA not only does a disservice to the students and schools it purports to serve, but also acts as a political force in its own right to push a vision of public schooling that further damages an already broken education system.
Increasingly across the country, students as well as TFA alumni are becoming aware of TFA’s role in perpetuating inequality in our schools. Through this campaign, we hope to unite and strengthen these voices of resistance and organize a powerful movement not only against TFA as a political organization, but also for better solutions and services in high-need, low-income schools.
We hope you will find the information, resources, and perspectives offered on this site both useful and enlightening, and even inspiring enough to encourage you to join our campaign. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to check our FAQ page or contact us!
1. Raise awareness on college campuses about the problems surrounding TFA on both an individual and institutional level.
- We hope to engage prospective TFA corps members in a critical discussion about the problems with TFA’s model, its role in the larger political structure of education reform, and alternatives/adjustments to the program. This is a discussion that they do not often have when recruited to join the organization, and we feel it is a discussion they deserve to engage in.
- On a broader level, we hope to also challenge the position that TFA has to recruit on our campuses by raising awareness about the problems surrounding TFA to our university administrators and urging them to rethink their partnership with the organization.
2. Elevate the voices of students and TFA alumni whose stories are often overshadowed by TFA’s marketing.
- Beyond prompting a critical analysis of the facts about TFA, another piece of the awareness component is highlighting the perspectives of students and TFA alumni who have been affected by the organization and now resist it. Their voices, which tell a different story, are too often obscured and silenced by TFA’s empty, overarching message of altruism and dominance in major media. But their lived experiences do matter: they deserve to be heard and prospective TFA members deserve to hear all sides of the debate.
3. Put pressure on TFA as an organization to change its model.
- We do not think that the solution here is to completely eliminate Teach for America or to denounce it as an all-around evil organization. We believe that with the appropriate reforms to its model and a radical shift in its approach, TFA has the potential to be a positive force for public education in this country.
- By challenging TFA’s credibility, disrupting its ability to recruit on college campuses, elevating the voices of student critics, we intend to do all that is in our power to bring about such a transformation. We hope this campaign will urge TFA to take student, alumni, and community perspectives into serious consideration and act accordingly to ensure that its model and approach do not inflict further damage on communities.
On this website, you can learn more about our specific demands for TFA as an organization.