In 2015, the Washington Post published an entire chapter from a book called “Good Intentions Gone Bad” about the “controversial” organization Teach for America.
Teach for America, founded in 1990 to provide teachers for inner city schools, would seem an unlikely target for the Washington Post. It would seem an unlikely target too for the Kansas News Service which ran a recent story on KCUR, headlined, “Kansas To Pay Teach For America $270,000 For Recruiting Three Teachers.”
On the surface at the least, Teach for America strikes all the right leftist notes. For instance, its homepage introduction reads, “Teach For America is looking for promising leaders to take on educational inequity,” the goal here being less to make kids smarter than to make them equal to some unnamed other.
What makes Teach for America so vulnerable to media criticism is one variable: teachers’ unions do not like the organization.
A not unusual USA Today article from a few years back quotes NEA executive director John Wilson as complaining that TFA brings “the least-prepared and the least-experienced teachers” into low-income schools and makes them “the teacher of record.” According to Wilson, some districts were laying off established teachers and replacing them with TFA newbies.
Stripped of the media protection such organizations usually get, TFA has come under fire in Kansas. As Nomin Ujiyediin reports on KCUR, the Kansas legislature is “on the hook to pay the nonprofit $270,000 for training and recruiting [three] teachers with no guarantee they will work in Kansas schools.”
Although Ujiyediin’s reporting is impressively murky–it is not at all clear who owes how much to whom or why–what does come through in the article is that the State of Kansas has allowed itself to get hornswoggled by a “controversial” organization whose good intentions have gone, if not bad, at least awry.