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Teach for America’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values: A Closer Look


by Lydia Bentley — May 17, 2013

TFA has become entrenched as a powerful force in education, shaping classrooms through its teachers and influencing, to some degree, how our society thinks about teachers as levers to address educational injustice. This commentary focuses on one of the means by which TFA influences society’s conceptualization of teaching- the message that TFA broadcasts via its official statements on its organization’s web site. While TFA’s website is comprehensive, and the totality of text is lengthy, this paper limits its discussion to the mission, vision, and core values statements as content for review. The purpose is to uncover the implicit, and sometimes explicit, model that TFA puts forth as descriptive of how teachers work to address the inequity and inequality in education. To fulfill this purpose, the discussion is developed in the following order: the limitations and affordances of reviewing organizations’ official statements are considered; the TFA framework is summarized in order to uncover its model of teaching as a lever to address inequity and inequality; TFA’s framework and model are critiqued using selected perspectives from the literature; and, a few conclusions and implications are put forth.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: May 17, 2013
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17126, Date Accessed: 10/31/2014 10:30:10 PM

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About the Author
  • Lydia Bentley
    Vanderbilt University
    E-mail Author
    LYDIA BENTLEY is a predoctoral fellow in the Dept of teaching and learning at Peabody College,Vanderbilt University. She is interested in issues related to Critical Race Theory in the classroom, social justice in education, and diversity along multiple axes. She has coauthored pieces in The Oxford Companion to American Politics and the Peabody Journal of Education.
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