Teach for America – from Ivy to teachers to policy

Everybody knows TFA, don’t you?!

There is even an international branch of the famous non-profit working to change the way future leaders think about education by giving them a very close look into it. How? By turning them into teachers right after they graduate and before they move forward to their investment banking or consulting job. After a 5 weeks training they become teachers in quite a difficult school and get to experience the problems of the educational system first hand. This experience will enable them to care about the issue and to advocate for solutions when they will be in positions of power. Graduates from the program are indeed involved in making the new policies about to improve the US education system.

Even though this model is key in the policy battle, there also are some downsides: the TFA teachers only receive a 5 week training and that somehow discredits the 5 years of studies others go through to become teachers; the TFA teachers are not prepare to interact with others and their Ivy experience doesn’t necessarily contributes to improving school cultures or peer to peer exchange of best practices; the TFA teachers only experience very difficult schools and when they eventually get the possibility to change something they advocate policies based on this biased experience.

The TFA model can’t unfortunately work in all countries and should be refined in the US to better match the existing school system. But yet, it is the major improvement and effort made so far for American students and gives a unique experience to many many graduates who will most certainly impact the world for the better.