What We’re Watching: David Gergen on TFA and Teachers Unions



By Education Next 02/24/2012

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In this video, David Gergen talks with Bob Bowdon of Choice Media TV about Teach for America and teachers’ unions. Comparing the motivations of young people interested in teaching to Marines, Gergen says young people are “not looking for a lot of money… They’re not looking for security. What they’re looking for is adventure and a chance to make a difference.”

An article about Teach for America from the Summer 2011 issue of Ed Next looks at what TFA alumni do after they leave the program. “While much of the debate around Teach For America (TFA) in recent years has focused on the effectiveness of its nontraditional recruits in the classroom,” the authors write,  “the real story is the degree to which TFA has succeeded in producing dynamic, impassioned, and entrepreneurial education leaders.” See Creating a Corps of Change Agents” by Monica Higgins, Wendy Robison, Jennie Weiner, and Frederick Hess.

The interview with David Gergen was filmed during one of the breaks in the Education Next-PEPG conference “Learning from the International Experience,”where Gergen was moderating a panel.

You can read more about the Education Next-PEPG conference on Learning from the International Experience here.

An Ed Next article based on the conference, summarizing what the U.S. can and cannot learn from other countries, can be found here.




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  • [...] Education Next recently posted this interview with David Gergen, advisor to many presidents, discussing the motivations of young, liberal Teach For America Corps Members and how they interact with unions. He points out a central tension between a TFA CM’s liberal pro-union beliefs and their participation in a program that many teachers unions see as a battering ram against job security. He argues that TFA CMs of 2012 are not looking for job security, high pay, and health benefits as considerations 1, 2, and 3 immediately out of college. Instead, he argues thats TFA CMs are more interested in having an interesting job that is changing their world in a meaningful way. [...]

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