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Teach for America’s 2020 Trainees to Enter the Classroom with Only Tutoring Experience

June 9, 2020

In this time of school closures and social distancing, teacher temp agency, Teach for America (TFA), has decided to “train” its 2020 corps members online.

As former TFAer-gone-career teacher, Gary Rubinstein, writes, pre-COVID, TFA trainees actually teach on average one hour per day over the course of four weeks during the summer, in classrooms which they share with four other TFA trainees.

As such, TFA trainees have no experience teaching even one entire school day in a classroom in which the trainee is responsible for all instruction.

And now, with the social restrictions and classroom complexities introduced by the coronavirus, TFA’s 2020 trainees will have no experience being in charge of a classroom– not even an entire classroom online.

Their big exposure to students will come in the form of online tutoring via a summer reading program offered by Springboard Collective, a nonprofit started by TFA alum Alejandro Gibes de Gac (Springboard Collective derives from an entrepreneurial pitch at TFA’s 20th Anniversary Summit in 2010. TFA offered Gibes de Gac $5,000 in seed money to fund the pilot in 2011.)

From Springboard’s June 05, 2020, press release:

Springboard Collaborative is excited to announce a joint partnership with Teach for America (TFA) to launch a free virtual learning experience for students. The program is a part of Springboard’s Learning Accelerators (SLA) program. During the months of June and July students in grades Pre-K through 4th grade will work with a Teach For America corps member to work toward measurable reading goals. Springboard Collaborative is committed to bridging the literacy gap for students and is offering this free program to 8,400 students. …

During the SLA, parents and students will be matched with a virtual teacher from TFA. They will receive customized reading tips, progress updates, e-book access, and access to the Springboard Connect web-based app.

Note the slight shift in info on the Springboard application (link name of “tfaforms”):

Through our partnership with Teach For America, families will be matched with a TFA corps member (teacher-in-training) who will be by your side from the goal-setting session in week one all the way through to the end-of program celebration. You’ll also receive customized reading tips, progress updates, e-books, and access to the Springboard Connect app!

The latter identifies the TFAer as not a teacher but a “corps member” who is a “teacher-in-training,” and it is written in such a manner as to separate the “custom reading tips,” etc. from the TFAer– (i.e., advice originates with the app, not with the the TFA trainee.) In other words, the press release leads the public into believing tutoring is happening by a “teacher,” and the actual application includes language closer to the truth.

Reading is important, and high-calibre, after-school and summer reading opportunities for underserved children are indeed valuable– but what we have with this Springboard-TFA offering appears to be little more than a slick substitute for TFA’s already-anemic student teaching.

missed target

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From → National Crisis, TFA

6 Comments
  1. jacksartspace permalink

    It’s not surprising. Thank you for writing this article and posting it. JackHassard

  2. Polly Anglin permalink

    Students “teaching” students to understand the new TEACHER , aka AI behind the curtain (screen).
    Sad times for the children. Indeed for our Nation.
    Care enough to Home school if you can.

  3. Laura H.Chapman permalink

    Reading via an app for preschool? TFA joining the Trumpsters in misreprenting what they are offering. Thanks for this disclosure.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Mercedes Schneider: TFA Will Send Green Teachers into the Classroom with No Teaching Experience | Diane Ravitch's blog
  2. LDOE Shakeup: Brumley Arrives; TFA Leadership Hits the Exits | deutsch29
  3. Corps members, not teachers – Reflections in Education

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