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Because TFA could be so much more
This past winter I developed a bit of a habit of reading critiques of TFA online. After too many feverish nights of clicking through links and wallowing in the back-and-forth between the organization’s detractors and devotees, I couldn’t shake off this feeling that the critics made a lot of sense.
As a corps member who made “significant gains” both years (trumpets blare), I had always thought favorably of TFA and my own impact as a teacher. First off, I was good at it. The numbers loved me. Secondly, everywhere I turned I was greeted with affirmations that I was pretty much single-handedly closing the achievement gap (Michelle Rhee, TFA alumna extraordinaire, danced in my honor across the pages Newsweek; “Waiting for Superman” sang to me that I would lift communities out of poverty at a charter school). Third, upon completing my two years, TFA told me the world was waiting with an…