Over the past two decades, Teach For America (TFA) has grown from a scrappy start-up to a national corps with an annual budget of $212 million and a staff of 1,400. Along the way, it has generated a great deal of research about how to improve the teacher training and selection strategies that are commonly used today. Yet the reaction from the education establishment remains one of intense hostility, which echoes through state capitals, Washington and even the courts, where lawsuits have been filed to curtail the use of TFA teachers.
TFA’s 20th birthday seems like as good a time as any to unpack the misconceptions put forward by its critics (and by some of its proponents). Here are five of the most common: