The Onion Skewers Teach For America

Sometimes The Onion does a marvelous job in skewering an issue in just a few words, and its effort on Teach For America is one such gloriously satirical case.

In it, a fresh-faced college girl writes about "My Year Volunteering As A Teacher Helped Educate A New Generation Of Underprivileged Kids," which is hilarious enough, especially to those of us tired of hearing about how one or two years in the classroom makes these TFA veterans instant authorities. (***Yes, there are some good teachers who come out of the program.)

But what takes the Onion piece to the next level is the "Counterpoint" by fourth-grade student Brandon Mendez entitled: "Can We Please, Just Once, Have A Real Teacher?"

The knocks against TFA have included the fact that often these novice teachers -- who chose to study something other than education in college -- try out their newfound skills on kids in the poorest schools, which usually means those in need of the most help.

The fourth-grader (and yes, it's a parody) writes:

"Just once, it would be nice to walk into a classroom and see a teacher who has a real, honest-to-God degree in education and not a twentysomething English graduate trying to bolster a middling GPA and a sparse law school application."

Although TFA officials would argue otherwise, not a ton of TFA teachers stay in teaching for the long haul; most use it as a résumé builder. Some use it to run for school boards. TFA officials counter that even if they don't stay in teaching, these folks going on to higher office better understand the needs of children and education.

Well, The Onion just said hooey to that.

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing