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Ban Teach for America recruiters from your classrooms

This petition had 824 supporters

Teach for America Keep Out!

November 14, 2014 

We, the undersigned, do hereby petition university faculty across the United States to ban Teach for America recruiters from your classrooms.

Whereas we support public education as vital to a democratic society, Teach for America backs charter schools, which draw on public funds yet are unaccountable to a democratic public and are not required to teach all students.

Whereas we support the rights of teachers to form unions, Teach for America recruits are often used as replacement workers in districts with labor disputes, thus weakening the collective bargaining rights of teachers.

Whereas we believe all American students deserve highly trained and experienced teachers, and whereas much research shows that such teachers are more effective than inexperienced and untrained teachers, Teach for America sends thousands of recent college graduates into demanding environments after offering them short summer “boot camps” as their only training and experience.

Whereas we understand that teaching is at its best when highly trained professionals enjoy a modicum of autonomy, Teach for America is part of a powerful movement to de-professionalize teaching by reducing all instruction to standardized test preparation, even though much research shows such tests do not measure learning or good teaching.

Whereas systematic economic inequality sabotages what schools can and should do to help all children maximize their potential, Teach for America implies that presumably bad teachers are all that stand in the way of every American child’s opportunity to achieve academic success.

Whereas we understand that civil rights rhetoric is empty when devoid of concern for economic inequality, Teach for America sells itself as the civil rights movement of our age, a grave insult to the black freedom movement of the twentieth century.

As such, we implore faculty to sign this petition and thereby commit to keep Teach for America recruiters out of our classrooms. Although this petition specifically addresses university and college teachers at all levels, we encourage anyone who supports the message to sign it in solidarity.

Selected sources:

Andrew Hartman, “Teach for America: The Hidden Curriculum of Liberal Do-Gooders,” Jacobin

Mark Naison, “Why Teach for America Is Not Welcome in My Classroom,” LA Progressive

Julian Vasquez Heilig and Su Jin Jez, “Teach for America: A Review of the Evidence,” National Education Policy Center

Original signatories:

1. Andrew Hartman, Associate Professor of History, Illinois State University

2. Mark Naison, Professor of African American Studies and History, Fordham University

3. Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education, New York University

4. Jesse Turner, Professor of Reading and Language Arts, Central Connecticut State University

5. Denisha Jones, Visiting Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, Howard University

6. Lisa Phillips, Associate Professor of History, Indiana State University

7. Lois Weiner, Professor of Education, New Jersey City University

8. Aaron Barlow, Professor of English, New York City Technical College, CUNY

9. Robin Brooks, Assistant Professor of Art, University of Maine, Machias

10. Yohuru Williams, Professor of History, Fairfield University

11. Corey Robin, Professor of Political Science, Brooklyn College, CUNY Graduate Center

12. Barbara Winslow, Professor of Secondary Education, Brooklyn College, CUNY

13. Joan C Grim, Lecturer, Early Childhood Special Education, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

14. Eleanor Bader, Adjunct Professor of English, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY

15. Craig Stephen Wilder, Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

16. Jim Horn, Professor of Education, Cambridge College

17. Jerome Krase, Emeritus and Murray Koppelman Professor, Brooklyn College

18. Patrice Palmer, Primary Teacher, Las Vegas, NV

19. Mitchell Robinson, Associate Professor and Chair of Music Education, Michigan State University

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