Skip to main content
Full Menu
You Should Know

Teach for America helps charter movement

New York Teacher

The Walton Family Foundation, created by the founder of Walmart, failed to reveal that its $20 million grant to Teach For America in 2013 to recruit and train nearly 4,000 teachers for low-income schools had unusual terms intended to boost charter schools.

The foundation, which is Teach For America’s largest private funder, was paying $4,000 for every teacher placed in a traditional public school — and $6,000 for every one placed in a charter school, according to an investigative report by ProPublica. The two-year grant was directed at nine cities where charter schools were sprouting up, including New Orleans; Memphis, Tennessee; and Los Angeles.

The grant coincided with a shift in the direction of Teach for America, a nonprofit organization founded to alleviate teacher shortages in traditional public schools. Although only 7 percent of students nationwide attend charter schools, Teach For America sent almost 40 percent of its 6,736 teachers to them in 2018 — up from 34 percent in 2015 and 13 percent in 2008.

“There’s no question that Teach For America as it evolved became joined at the hip to a large degree with the national education reform movement,” said Jeffrey Henig, a professor at the Teachers College at Columbia University.

ProPublica, June 18