Call for Papers: Examining Teach For America


Special Topic: Examining Teach For America: Politics, Leadership, Student Achievement, and Race

In 1989, Princeton undergraduate Wendy Kopp established Teach For America. She envisioned a national teacher corps patterned after the Peace Corps that would be comprised of graduates of elite universities. When corps members left the classroom after a two-year commitment, they were expected to become lifelong advocates for public education in whatever profession they chose. More than twenty years later, TFA has placed over 25,000 teachers in more than 35 school districts, and enjoys significant federal, foundation, and corporate funding. Its leaders regard the organization as a critical agent in ameliorating educational inequality, and they imagine that TFA develops leaders who work across multiple professional, political, and educational terrains to reshape schooling for poor children and children of color. It has built an active alumni network, has developed programs to encourage alumni to run for public office, and has established relationships with many graduate programs and professional schools to create pipelines for civic leadership. Thus, although TFA began as an alternative teacher preparation and placement organization, its mission has shifted over the last two decades. Today, TFA maintains that it selects and prepares educational and social policy leaders.


To date, however, the research on TFA has tended to fall into four categories: (1) conceptual debates about the organization’s potential advantages and disadvantages; (2) empirical studies of TFA’s effects on student test-based outcomes; (3) TFA memoirs and journalistic accounts of corps’ members experiences; and (4) a small, but growing set of empirical studies that conceive of corps members as social and political actors. This special issue joins this last body of scholarship, which is attempting to reframeTeach For America as an organization that is situated within a larger political and ideological movement.  It will also complement EPAA’s forthcoming special issue on TFA’s international spin-off, Teach For All.

Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA) announces a call for papers for a special issue exploring the multiple effects of TFA on educational leadership, policy, racial representation, and student achievement. It seeks to answer:  What are the political and ideological roots of TFA’s relationship with schools, communities, and the system of public education? What do we know about TFA’s impacts on the quality of education for marginalized students, such as English Learners and children of color? How does TFA shape its corps members’ understandings about the roots of educational inequality, as well as the subsequent policies or reforms for addressing them?


By answering these questions, this issue contributes to the theory, policy, and practice related to Teach For America. It also expands the discourse on TFA by offering multiple, varied conceptualizations of the organizations “effects” and their long-term implications for educational equity in our nation’s public schools.

About the Journal: Celebrating its 22th year, EPAA is a peer-reviewed, open-access, international, multilingual, and multidisciplinary journal designed for researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and development analysts concerned with education policies. EPAA/AAPE accepts unpublished original manuscripts in English, Spanish and Portuguese without restriction as to conceptual and methodological perspectives, time or place.

Submission Information: All manuscripts should be submitted electronically through the EPAA website and follow the Journal’s submission guidelines:  We will not consider manuscripts submitted for publication or published elsewhere.

Initial 500-word Abstract Deadline: September 30, 2014

(potential contributors submit abstracts for reactions and feedback)

Submission Deadline: January 15, 2015

Publication date: July 2015

Early submissions are encouraged.


Guest Co-Editors: Tina Trujillo, University of California Berkeley ( and Janelle Scott, University of California Berkeley (