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Elizabeth Warren Has a Former TFAer Advising Her on Education

June 6, 2019

According to his Linkedin bio, Joshua Delaney is Democratic presidential hopeful, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s, senior education policy advisor. He describes his job as follows:

Advise United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on all matters pertaining to early, elementary, secondary, and higher education, including college affordability and student loan debt.

“Advise… on all matters pertaining to early, elementary, secondary, and higher education.” That’s quite a responsibility. No problem: Delaney has put in his two years (2011-13) as a Teach for America (TFA) temp teacher as a “ninth-grade special education algebra co-teacher” (his bachelors degree is in “journalism, advertising, new media, and theater”; he held a patchwork of Georgia teaching certifications which one can look up here).

While doing his TFA stint (with one year in), in 2012, Delaney turned his attention toward education policy, serving as a sort of TFA policy incubator:

Co-founder & Vice-Chairman, Metro Atlanta Policy Leadership Track

Jun 2012 – Jun 2013 (1 yr 1 mo), Greater Atlanta Area

Founded and led a board of six members to create programming for Teach for America (TFA) corps members with an interest in education policy and advocacy. Hosted monthly events including lectures, panels, debates, and networking nights with education advocates and policy leaders. Secured sponsorship from national organization (Leadership for Educational Equity) for advocacy training sessions for TFA corps members and alumni to engage with educational issues in Georgia General Assembly Legislative Session and with local elections

Following this leading of a six-member board to advance TFAers onto ed policy (and roughly corresponding to the end of Delaney’s TFA stint), Delaney spent one month as a poicy fellow helping implement Common Core in Georgia.

Next, Delaney earned a masters of ed policy from TFA ed-policy credentialing favorite, the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE); interned for a summer (May – August 2014) with the Alliance for Excellent Education. Then, in August 2014, he landed in Elizabeth Warren’s office as education fellow (August 2014 – July 2015), then legislative assistant (August 2015 – July 2016), and, finally, as senior education policy advisor (August 2016 – present).

And so, this is who is in Elizabeth Warren’s ear advising her on All Things Education:

A former TFAer who rode in on the ed policy express.

Warren has yet to crystallize her position on K12 education. She publicly supported Bernie Sanders’ nebulous, loaded statement against “for-profit charter schools” and said that”pubic tax dollars should stay in our public schools.”

Does this mean that she is fine with nonprofit charter schools? What about nonprofit charter schools with for-profit management? Does Warren consider charter schools to be “public” schools since they take public money?

Warren’s campaign website offers no specifics on her K12 education position.

She has publicly stated that as president, she “will not appoint anyone to be secretary of education who has not taught in a public school.” However, that is a pretty loose qualification; Every TFAer who even completes a semester or year of that two-year stint has technically “taught in a public school.” Such a qualification might rule out Betsy DeVos, but that is not saying much.

Warren is excellent at offering policy solutions and positions for numerous issues.

As a career classroom teacher, I would like to see her formally post her ideas, policies, and positions on K12 education on her campaign website. And I am hoping those ideas are not laden with TFA-friendly whisperings.


Elizabeth Warren


Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.


Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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  1. speduktr permalink

    Wikipedia says she taught special needs students for a year in NJ on an emergency certificate since she did not take the required education courses. Shortly thereafter she started law school. She probably sees nothing untoward in her choice of advisor.

  2. Lance Hill permalink

    Nice research. We have an epidemic of former TFA teachers gobbling up “progressive” jobs in New Orleans. Most of them hide their former TFA association.

  3. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    off topic. This is a new and remarkable data base of IRS 990 forms in pdf format.
    The search is super fast.
    Here is what turned up when I just put in “charter school.” I have not studied the results but the list is amazing and some of the sums are astonishing. A goldmine awaits.✓&q=charter+school&state%5Bid%5D=&ntee%5Bid%5D=&c_code%5Bid%5D=

    • Linda permalink

      I filtered for Ohio. The fourth entry (no money listed) was “expose liberal charter school turncoats”…?

  4. This is exactly what we need to learn about the candidates. Thank you.

  5. Linda permalink

    Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown’s education advisor (Leah Hill) also is rumored to be former TFA. It’s a shame Brown couldn’t find an advisor who attended a public university. fyi- The private George Washington University in D.C., Hill’s alma mater, costs $68,000 per year (more than the median family income in Ohio).
    Brown asked for and received from the federal government $71 mil. to expand charter schools despite the scandal involving ECOT (now defunct). Who knows how many real students Ohio taxpayers paid for at ECOT but, the number associated with the contractor school is 15,000 students.
    Sadly, the worst Democrat is better than the best Republican.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Mercedes Schneider: Who Advises Elizabeth Warren on Education? | Diane Ravitch's blog
  2. Elizabeth Warren’s Public Education Problem
  3. Open Letter to Joe Biden: Ed Sec “That Has Been in Public Schools” is Not Enough | deutsch29

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