The first and most important thing is that we support Teach For America here, and more importantly, that we support its alumni no matter what career choices they have made. We think it’s just as valuable that some corps members move on and work to change the world outside of the classroom as it is that some decide to stay in the classroom and teach.
There are plenty of places to debate whether or not TFA should exist
and the countless ways that it can improve — as it has steadily over the the last twenty-five years.
This isn’t one of them.
And there are plenty of venues to hand over the idiosyncrasies of how large organizations learn and change.
We don’t do that here either. Like I tell my friends who work in reform or who are alumni themselves,
“TFA is like marriage. It’s complicated, but the world is better off with it than without it.”
That said, the Corps Knowledge campaign is organized around
three very specific goals and with one overarching principle.
Our principle is this:
TFA, its corps members and its alumni work to make our children’s classrooms better, and many of them go on to make our country better. That needs to be defended, promoted and supported.
Our three goals are:
To be a place where Teach For America corps members and alumni come together to support the work they have done, and continue to do, to make our classrooms and our country better. We think there are amazing people who choose to be corps members. We admire their spirit and their will. And we want to rally around those efforts.
To combat misinformation, dissembling, hypocrisy and outright lying about what Teach For America does and the classroom efficacy of its alumni. There are some colleges, universities and communications shops that are giving out master's degrees in M.S.U. (Making Stuff Up). We don’t recognize those degrees here and we don’t believe that committed people with a heart for service ought to have their efforts and intentions distorted in this common, internet-driven fashion. A lie told often enough becomes the “truth.” We have a Corps Truth here and it’s not that one.
To provide a platform for alumni to share their opinions and experiences not just about education, but about how systems in the world systematically limit opportunities for low-income communities and the kids in them. We know corps members work hard in the classroom and then go on to work on a wide range of issues—from criminal justice and incarceration to racial equity—and the world needs to know about that too.
We plan to do these things through traditional and social media, and through key events and gatherings. We’re also launching a fellowship program for alumni interested in being more visible on both issues of education and social justice. Teach For America is about people and so is the Corps Knowledge campaign.