Five weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled ‘Fly My Pretties’ before taking somewhat of a break from blogging. The point of that post was to recruit more people, particularly TFA alums as they are considered most ‘credible’, to help me present the other side of the story of the corporate reform movement for which TFA is the poster child.
I issued this plea for help for two reasons: 1) I am exhausted by nearly twenty years of critiquing this organization, particularly the past 14 months when I started working on analyzing and critiquing the entire corporate reform movement, and 2) It was a way to check to see if anyone was truly ‘with me.’ By doing this, I was risking the possibility that nobody would respond and then I’d have to really reconsider whether this was a worthwhile use of my time.
Though there were not a lot of comments after the post, I did actually receive several emails from people who did not feel comfortable making their stories public. I also got an email from some guy who said he was worried about my mental and emotional state and thought that it could undermine all the other posts I’ve done.
Well, he and everyone else who is worried will be happy to know that I’m feeling just fine. I think that I accomplished a lot in this past year with my writing. I even had editorials in The New York Daily News and on the CNN website. I’ve debunked ‘miracle schools’ who claim they get incredible results with the ‘same kids’ as neighborhood schools. I’ve exposed shoddy research papers that get quoted by corporate reformers and politicians alike. I’ve written several critiques of TFA, one called ‘Why I Did TFA And Why You Shouldn’t’ which got over 20,000 hits. I don’t want things to get too repetitive, so I’m spending some time recharging, which is why there were only two posts in the past month. I expect I’ll ‘lay low’ until around the time that the TFA institutes begin. Depending on how much free time I’ll have this summer, I might be helping organize new TFA corps members to be ‘disrupting’ the institute if they are not getting properly trained or are feeling like they are being lied to in various ways — more to come on that in June.
If I seem pretty enthusiastic it is because my call was answered by at least one brave soul who has begun a new blog on the teachforus.org site, and I want to alert everyone who reads my blog to start subscribing to ‘The Loving Critic’s’ blog and his/her debut post, which was excellent, ‘Visions of a different Teach for America.’ One thing about the blog which I hope was just done inadvertently is that comments are not allowed on the site.
At the end of the first post, I got a ‘shout out’ which I really appreciated. I don’t get much ‘back’ from doing what I do here. I think that what I’m doing will help kids in the long run as it prevents the corporate reformers from spreading their lies which ultimately hurt kids and teachers. But to have someone whom I have never met elect to take the time to fight alongside me means a lot. If I’m the only person doing it, it might be easy for my critics to label me as some kind of paranoid, conspiracy theory spreading, crank. With two, it becomes the start of a movement. Assuming exponential growth (a big assumption, I know, but you never know) this will grow next to 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.. Maybe then I can retire and go back to writing funny stories about my first few years of teaching.