Mr. Parello Sensei

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 31 2013

I Quit Teach for America Too

About a month ago, a former TFA corps member named Olivia Blanchard published this superb recounting of her time in the corps in The Atlantic.  Absolutely everything in the article resonated with me, and much of what she says I wish I had written myself in my first Teach for Us post .  And as is the case with many things that hit the nail so perfectly on the head, her article produced a backlash.
One thing that Blanchard captured and that I have not before seen so well articulated, is the rather self-righteous attitude that pervades institute.  Although I have commented in past post on the amount of time wasted in institute on unhelpful things, like organizing binders and creating five-step lesson plans without ever learning how to use district mandated curriculums, I never talked about the unsettling sessions where people went around in circles with some bursting into tears about tragic…

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  To most readers of the blogs on the Teach for Us website, Gary Rubinstein is best known for his critiques of Teach for America’s training model and ed reformers’ miracle school claims.  It was his posts on education reform that originally inspired me to start my own blog here.  As an author on education,…

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I’ve never put too much stock in the idea that TFA recruits and young charter school teachers enter education for the resume padding; I think the job simply requires too much commitment and passion for a resume boost to be the primary motivator.  Everyone that I know who went into TFA or who worked for…

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This past weekend I was going through all of my old teaching documents, looking for anything that could help me as I get ready to start the new school year. During my organization effort, I came across a packet of Teach for America Los Angeles prep materials from 2007  for our placement interviews at LA…

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Diane Ravitch is one of my favorite authors and thinkers on education.   In “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” she weaves rock-solid case against No Child Left Behind and the test-based accountability movement.  Unfortunately, the wisdom of her ideas are often drowned out by those who are more adept at…

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With the early end of the 2012-2013 school year at my old school, I’ve had an extra long period this summer without work. I decided to use my time (and savings) to pay a visit to my old schools in Japan, and spend a couple of weeks visiting friends in the cities of Osaka, Kobe,…

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Blogger Owen Davis recently wrote a piece on Teach for America alumni resistance, and in his piece included the voice of a New Orleans public school student reacting to the influx of Teach for America teachers to her district. After pointing out that nearly half of New Orleans’ teachers were in their first three years…

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Jul 25 2013

Where TFA Succeeds and Where it Fails

Recently, on Twitter, TFA’s new co-CEO Matt Kramer posted an article called “Why Are We Burning Teach For America at the Stake?” written by alum Lauren Boyle. Lauren is rare among TFA alums for having participated both in a traditional credentialing program and in TFA’s training, so she has perspectives into both. The article caught…

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Jun 22 2013

Stay More Than Two Years

For my last couple of posts, I’ve been posting about my recent hiring at a private school.  I found it instructive to look at some of the ways it sold itself to parents, namely by the fact that it kept class sizes small and did not overtest, and to contrast those things with what the…

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For the past several years, two of the more common claims from the ed reform community are that class size is unimportant to student achievement and that test scores provide an effective way of evaluating teachers and schools.   Interviewing for my new job at a French/English bilingual school, I was struck by how much…

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