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Professor co-edits new book; mentioned in top publications

  |   Kathryn Kao   |   Permalink   |   Schools and Administrators,   Students and Faculty

Kathleen deMarrais, professor and department head of the department of lifelong education, administration and policy, recently co-edited a book with T. Jameson Brewer titled "Teach for America Counter-Narratives: Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out." Since its release, the book has been featured in several top publications across the nation.

Esther Cepeda's Washington Post column, published earlier this month, gives readers a brief overview of the new book, which provides Teach for America (TFA) alumni with the opportunity to share their insight on the 25-year-old organization. The column has since been picked up by several publications in Chicago, Utah and Atlanta.

deMarrais and Brewer compiled 20 alumni testaments to explain why TFA, which saw incredible success in its first two decades, has recently been experiencing more criticism. All three sections of the book—the first of its kind—serve as a platform for alumni voices that have been silenced in the past.

In the column, Cepeda highlights a brief testimonial by Jay Saper, who was dismissed from TFA after vocally advocating for community input in school reforms. Like other alumni in the book, Saper underscores the failings of TFA's educational tactics.

Additionally, Brewer and deMarrais write about the dangers of TFA's assumption "that traditionally trained teachers are not as qualified or as intelligent as they should be," because of low SAT scores. According to them, TFA views its 145-hour training program as "superior to the traditional four-year college degree and student teaching semester."

In contrast, supporters of better-educated teachers believe that people with no pedagogy training, despite scoring high on the SATs, are ill prepared to teach a classroom full of underserved students.

deMarrais teaches qualitative research methods and researches qualitative pedagogies, philanthropy and education, ethnography and autoethnography and fictional approaches to qualitative research.

Brewer is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he studies TFA and other neoliberal movements in public education.

Read Esther Cepeda's column in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Read a full feature of the book in the Huffington Post.

Read an excerpt from the new book in the Washington Post.

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