Teaching or service? The site-based realities of teach for America teachers in poor, urban schools

Barbara Torre Veltri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Business Week and Fortune Magazine suggest that Teach for America (TFA) is a beneficial postgraduation option for corps members, who teach for a finite commitment in low-socioeconomic status urban school districts. This longitudinal qualitative study examines the complex issues that surround TFA through the voices of TFA corps members, mentors, and administrators. Insiders inform readers about the site-based realities, corporate-like model, affiliation with a high-profile national organization, and districts' hiring policies-all of which set TFA teachers apart from non-TFA teachers. Data integrate interviews and teacher researcher field notes, gathered during 8 years from more than 300 participants, who discuss their TFA teaching experiences candidly. Findings suggest that TFA corps members are learning the culture(s) of schools and the community on the job as well as other complexities of teaching. Questions persist with respect to TFA's current model, mission, and goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-542
Number of pages32
JournalEducation and Urban Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Alternative certification
  • Education policy
  • Poverty schooling
  • Teacher education
  • Urban education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Urban Studies


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