How does Teach For America engage its alumni politically? A case study in Detroit

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We describe the alumni engagement efforts by Teach For America (TFA) in Detroit as a case study of the specific ways that the organization works to influence its alumni’s involvement in educational politics and disposition towards particular types of educational reform. During the 2019-20 school year, TFA Detroit facilitated a series of “policy workshops” for its alumni, intended to inspire TFA corps members and alumni to engage in political and policy advocacy. Combining field notes and other artifacts from the policy workshops with a social network analysis of the featured participants and central organizations, we show that TFA Detroit drew upon its local, state, and national policy networks to construct workshops that in turn would politically mobilize alumni to support their networks’ preferred city and state policies and reforms.


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How to Cite
Singer, J., & Brewer, T. J. (2021). How does Teach For America engage its alumni politically? A case study in Detroit. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 29(January - July), 21.
Author Biographies

Jeremy Singer, Wayne State University

Jeremy Singer is a doctoral candidate in educational leadership and policy studies at Wayne State University’s College of Education, and a research assistant for the Detroit Education Research Partnership. He is interested in the intersections of geography, class, race, and educational policy.

T. Jameson Brewer, University of North Georgia

T. Jameson Brewer, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Social Foundations of Education at the University of North Georgia. Broadly conceptualized, his research focuses on the impact of privatization and marketization of public education by way of school vouchers, charter schools, alternative teacher certification, and homeschooling. Follow him on Twitter: @tjamesonbrewer