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Teach For America’s paradoxical diversity initiative: Race, policy, and Black teacher displacement in urban schools

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Published: 2016-02-07

Author

Terrenda C. White

University of Colorado-Boulder

Keywords: diversity; Black teachers; displacement; turnover; Teach For America; teachers of color

Abstract

This article examines the paradox of Teach For America’s diversity gains and its support for policies that contribute to Black teacher decline in urban communities. TFA has countered claims that its expansion is connected to teacher displacement, but its two-pronged structure—as an alternative certification program and an influential policy actor via its leadership model for education reform—requires a critical analysis of the impact of its policy commitments on Black teachers. I propose steps to better align TFA’s policy orientations with its diversity values by leveraging TFA’s policy influence to support better working conditions for teachers in urban schools, democratic school turnarounds, and teacher organizing linked to broad social justice movements.

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Author Biography

Terrenda C. White

University of Colorado-Boulder

Terrenda White is an Assistant Professor of Education Foundations, Policy, and Practice at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Her work is grounded in sociology of education, and currently explores the impact of choice and competition on teachers’ instructional practices, including multicultural practices for diverse students. Her latest project examines the organizational conditions of charter schools with chronically low and high rates of teacher turnover, including voluntary and involuntary departures by teachers of color.
PDF

Published: 2016-02-07

How to Cite

White, T. C. (2016). Teach For America’s paradoxical diversity initiative: Race, policy, and Black teacher displacement in urban schools. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 16. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.24.2100