Save teachforus.org!

In 2006, a TFA corps member created the blog site now called teachforus.org.  One year later I wrote my first post there, and a year after that, in 2008, I started blogging regularly.  It was mostly advice for new teachers.  I was working on a book called ‘Beyond Survival’ and I used the blog as a way to hash out my thoughts on teaching.

In March of 2011, after attending the TFA 20th anniversary summit, I wrote my first investigative blog post calling Arne Duncan out about a ‘miracle school.’  This post was recognized by public school supporters, most notably, Diane Ravitch, and the rest is history.

Teachforus.org was created as a way for corps members to share their stories, and many of them did.  It is true that my blog was the most widely read, and this was surely something that irked TFA.  But TFA does not ‘run’ teachforus.org.  For a while they even linked to it from their site.

The thing I’m most proud of is that my blog gave a lot of other people ‘permission’ to speak truthfully about Teach For America and about education ‘reform,’ in general.  Eventually a majority of the blogs were critical about TFA, though not all of them.  ‘Teach Houston’ is particularly pro-TFA.

Some of the best blogs, which you can still get to through these links, and some are even still being updated.

Stir Up The World — This great teacher morphed from a rah-rah TFAer to someone advising others to not do TFA.

MIddle School Hero — I like this guy, Dalton, who definitely became more realistic as time went on.

Didymath — Wrote about 80 awesome posts.  All of them works of art.  He’s also a good guy and a sharp critic of reform.

Drinking The Kool Aid — She was at one time the most popular blogger on the site.  Raw emotion.  Great writing.  Then after 3 years, I think, she left teaching and we haven’t heard from her since.

Teach Houston — This is a new blogger who teaches, I think, at a YES prep in Houston.  She had a very tough summer school teaching experience but got very strong because of it and had a great first year and her students got great standardized test scores.  Nothing about the attrition at YES, I notice …

Mathinaz — She was a teacher in Arizona and then became an administrator in Denver.  Michelle Rhee was her hero.  She stopped blogging too.

Mr. Parello Sensei — This blog, the author told me, was inspired by mine.  He was doing some great analysis, but hasn’t written in a while.

Yo Teach…! Or how to avoid teaching like Jason  — Even though this guy called me a ‘bully’ for picking on new TFAers sometimes, I still liked his analysis of things.

I liked hosting my site there since new TFAers would sometimes stumble upon my blog while they were writing their own and this was a nice way for some of my main intended audience to learn about my thoughts.

About six months ago, the teachforus.org site began to crash a lot.  I wrote to the creator of the site to inform him about this and he said he’d look into it, but since the site was being hosted for free, it wasn’t a top priority of those maintaining it.  The proverbial ‘nail in the coffin’ happened recently when they attempted to upgrade the site, but there is a major error where the ‘most recent’ posts are no longer accessible from the main page so nobody who follows the blog would have any idea where to see the latest posts.

Throughout the years, the site creator has been very helpful, up until recently, when I’ve had problems.  He showed me how to embed videos.  He gave me more space when I was running out of storage.

I am hoping that he fixes the problem.  Teachforus.org has meant a lot to me and to others and there is no reason for it to disappear this way.

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3 Responses to Save teachforus.org!

  1. Pingback: Educational Policy Information

  2. David-S says:

    I’m glad that you retained your posts as it appears that what I forecast and shared with you has come true. The TFA crowd has apparently taken down the entire site because of you. They don’t want prospective TFA’ers to see any of it, and I feel secure in the thought that with the high turnover in ‘the corps’ the site will be forgotten quickly.

    So what’s next? First, I’d suggest that you email Diane R. Perhaps she might want to take ‘public notice’ of this action. Perhaps some underhanded pressure was applied to those who hosted it. Second, I suggest that you contemplate a site where those who used to post on Ed topics for TFA can go unfettered by TFA. Since I know little about this, I’ll end with a suggestion for a ‘tag’:
    TFA SUCKS.

  3. Dave McKenna says:

    I really hope the site gets fixed too. One thing I always appreciated about Teach for Us is the diversity in the stories that it’s members told. I’ve always felt that TFA presented one dominate narrative to its funders, Corps Members, and Alumni. In that narrative, a young, inexperienced teacher always manages to make great personal connections and academic gains with their students with lots of hard work. It was nice to see that was not always the story that Corp Members had. It’s interesting to note though, even before the technical problems, it seemed like less and less people were starting blogs each school year. I’m not quite sure why that is.

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