Making All Children Count: Teach For All and the Universalizing Appeal of Data


  • Daniel Friedrich Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Mia Walter Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Erica Colmenares Teachers College, Columbia University



data interpretation, teacher education, globalization


In this paper, we argue that in order to bind Teach For All’s universal/izing statement of problems and solutions to the specificities and the special conditions of member programs’ local contexts, what is needed is a shared set of discursive practices, a way of bringing together the commonalities found in each country while separating the noise of particular politics and histories. That common set of discursive practices is shaped around the notion of data. This paper is structured as follows: First, we contextualize Teach for All by (briefly) juxtaposing the universal and specific elements of the network, including the organization’s mission, target population, its recruits (and recruiting tactics), vision, and its production of a particular kind of teacher. Then, we present the two competing, yet complementary, logics of data that are at play in Teach for All – the use of data itself and the notion of data speak – along with their underlying assumptions. We conclude by questioning the logics of this set of discursive practices, and outline our skepticism regarding how data is mobilized to produce particular subjectivities and objects.



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Author Biographies

Daniel Friedrich, Teachers College, Columbia University

Daniel Friedrich is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum at Teachers College, Columbia University. His research explores the politics of global teacher education reform, as well as issues of memory, political violence and curriculum. His book Democratic Education as a Curricular Problem: Historical Consciousness and the Moralizing Limits of the Presentwas published by Routledge in 2014. That same year he was awarded the Early Career Scholar Award by the Critical Issues in Curriculum and Cultural Studies Special Interest Group at AERA.

Mia Walter, Teachers College, Columbia University

Mia Walter is a doctoral student of Curriculum Studies within the department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research concerns philosophical and epistemological questions around teaching and learning, with a present focus on the sounds of schooling. 

Erica Colmenares, Teachers College, Columbia University

Erica Colmenares is a doctoral student in the Curriculum and Teaching department at Teachers College, Columbia University. Erica is interested in preservice teacher education, particularly social justice-oriented teacher education, and international education. Her current research involves looking at the circulating affects in a university-based, social justice-oriented teacher education program. She is currently an instructor and field supervisor for the Elementary Inclusive Preservice Program at Teachers College.




How to Cite

Friedrich, D., Walter, M., & Colmenares, E. (2015). Making All Children Count: Teach For All and the Universalizing Appeal of Data. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 23, 48.



Teach For All