The TFA Insurgency
The appointment of Michelle Rhee, 37, as chancellor of Washington, D.C., schools is being seen as sign of the growing influence of Teach For America veterans on the education world. Referring to a "Teach for America insurgency," Washington Post education columnist Jay Mathews notes that TFA alumni are acquiring a growing reputation as innovators in education leadership and policy. Among other similarities, Mathews says, organizations led by TFA veterans tend to share a skepticism of the traditional, ed-school based method of recruiting and training teachers. Nor are they particularly bashful about their objectives and accomplishments. "There is a core group of education reformers who are driving a disproportionate amount of great things going on right now," says Rhee, who taught with TFA in the early 90s and was president of the New Teachers Project. Adds one Washington policy wonk about his TFA-vet friends: "Sometimes I kid them about their apparent plans for world domination."