Paging Mr. Jobs: TFA Turnoff

21 Aug

My husband and I are Mac fans.  We have a home full of Apple items–might as well be ihouse. So when I walked up to the Mac store today I was horrified to see the words “TEACH FOR AMERICA” emblazoned on the clear glass display beside the entrance.  It turns out, Mac is running a fundraiser for Teach for America with the tag line, “Your I-Pad is even more powerful in the hands of a teacher.”  The ad goes on to read: “Donate your I-Pad to Teach for America, and you’ll put a powerful tool into the hands of a teacher in a low-income community.”

link here: http://www.apple.com/retail/teachforamerica/

 

Does Apple know that they are making a political statement by supporting Teach For America–essentially aligning themselves with the conservative and neoliberal corporate ed reformers?  That the program puts fresh college grads in some of our poorest schools with little training?  That the two-year commitment they ask of their recruits does nothing to stem the revolving door of teachers coming in and out of hard-to-staff schools?  That their program employs a “no excuses” educational philosophy that dismisses poverty as a factor in educational achievement and encourages assimilatory pedagogy?

Is Apple really ready to put its considerable weight behind a corporate education endeavor that provides approximately 2% of the teaching force?  What we need is for technology powerhouses like Apple to support our public school system not by funding boutique corporate education programs that treat our inner city children’s education as some sort of character-building exercise on their way to Wall Street, but to help create stability and attract committed individuals who plan to make a lifetime career out of fighting to close the achievement gap.

Links to a study by an independent research organization regarding attrition rates and performance of TFA teachers:

http://www.greatlakescenter.org/docs/Policy_Briefs/Heilig_TeachForAmerica.pdf

 

 

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