Gary Rubinstein was one of the earliest recruits to Teach for America. He was a corps members in Houston, class of 1991. Since then, he has become a high school math teacher in New York City and a persistent critic of TFA.


His major criticism of the organization is that it recruits smart, idealistic young people and gives them inadequate training for the challenges they will face. He is also not pleased with TFA’s alignment with the Corporate Reform machine that is devoted to destroying and privatizing public education.


In this post, he gives advice to new members of TFA in Houston. He watches videos in which they present their thoughts. He hears too much of the TFA can’t about how they have arrived to save poor children from lazy veteran teachers and a broken system. He knows they are being set up for failure. They don’t know it yet. But they will.


TFA is now into its 25th year. To date, its teachers have helped to staff thousands of privatized, non-union charter schools. The organization has become super-rich and powerful. They are the darlings of rightwing foundations like the Walton Family Foundation, which gave TFA $50 million to keep building the workforce for those non-union charters. Arne Duncan also gave them $50 million. The Broad Foundation bundled $100 million for the same reason.


With all that money, what has TFA actually accomplished?