“What’s Best for Kids” vs. Teacher Unions: How Teach For America Blames Teacher Unions for the Problems of Urban Schools

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Heidi Katherine Pitzer


This article examines the anti-union discourse that is prevalent within Teach For America (TFA) and explores how the experiences and insights of TFA outsiders to urban schools and communities become central in how discussions on urban education are framed. Not only are urban teachers and their unions seen as unknowledgeable and unable to comment on their experiences in urban schools (while TFAers have the monopoly on knowing "what's best for kids"), but teacher unions are actually blamed for the problems of urban schools and seen as the main obstacle to doing "what's best for kids." This article analyzes how TFA corps members and touted TFA alum, Michelle Rhee are able to corral the anti-union sentiment that is always lurking within an individualistic society, and which seems especially conspicuous within this neoliberal moment. 

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