The Teat: ~Half Billion for Teach (Temp) For America

cow teats

Today I will profile Teach (Temp) For America (TFA) on The Teat. See Cloaking Inequity’s full thread on TFA here.

The Teat is a series on Cloaking Inequity (the protuberance through which milk is drawn from an udder or breast) that seeks to trace financial support which various entities receive that are involved in current educational policy debates.

Because the Cow Haiku was popular yesterday’s post The Teat: Sandy (Alexander) Kress. Here is another.

A cow looks stable,
but she can be tipped over
with just a light shove.


In 2010, in our policy brief entitled Teach For America: A Review of the Evidence we reported:

Between 2000 and 2008, TFA’s operating expenditures increased from $10 million to $114.5 million. Of those expenditures, TFA annual reports show that about a third of operating costs are currently borne by the public (See Table 3). Notably, TFA launched a campaign for a direct allocation of $50 million in federal support for 2011. If such an allocation were made, and if TFA’s operating expenditures in 2011 were similar to 2008, a large majority of TFA’s funding would be from the federal government and other taxpayer sources.

So what is the current state of TFA’s national funding? From whose teat do they partake?

Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 11.03.36 AM

The screen capture from their 2011 annual report shows that about a third of their budget comes from public sources. Even with the $50 million from the federal government from the I3 grant program and millions from districts and state legislatures, proportionally, TFA has increased their funding from individuals, corporations, and foundations since our policy report in 2010. So beyond the millions in finders fees that districts and federal and state funds already paid to TFA, who else funds TFA? First, thanks to Sylvia from Austin who pulled the TFA development data from the Foundation Center in New York and forwarded it. Since 2003, TFA has raked in $469,265,615 from foundation, corporations and individuals— almost half a billion dollars. See the TFA national spreadsheet here. How about Texas? Which foundations and private individuals have given TFA in Texas $5,612,602 since 2009? The Texas spreadsheet is here. Sidenote: For the assemblyperson that emailed me from Nevada: TFA’s take from Corporations and Foundations in Nevada had been about ~500k since 2006. Bank of America has been the largest contributor at about ~$320k. While TFA was claiming poverty during the last Texas Legislature, it was reported by the Houston Chronicle that TFA has another $100 million on the way from private donors which makes the $5 million shown above, well, peanuts. Edit: Thanks to Karen from Houston for this info. TFA hustles $4 million per year from the Texas Legislature:

Excerpt from Fiscal Size Up 2011

p 255 of 668

The Eighty-second Legislature maintained level funding at $8.0 million for Teach for America (TFA), directing that those funds support the provision of at least 1,000 TEA teachers in Texas schools with a prioritization on teachers of mathematics if possible.

Appropriations Act 2011-2012  Rider for TFA

p 277 of 1077

55. Teach for America.

From funds appropriated above in Strategy B.3.1, Improving Educator Quality and Leadership, the Commissioner shall expend $4,000,000 in General Revenue in each fiscal year of the biennium to support the Teach for America program in Texas. It is the intent of the Legislature that at least 1,000 Teach for America teachers be employed in Texas schools that serve a proportion of economically disadvantaged students that is above the state average. Funding shall be allocated in such a manner as to prioritize employment of Teach for America teachers in the field of mathematics to the extent practicable.

So if wealthy donors are footing the bill for Temp for America (~80% leave the classroom after 3 years), they don’t need hundreds of thousands of dollars in finders fees from our cash strapped districts and FIVE lobbyist at the Texas state capitol this session fiending for millions of scarce taxpayer dollars.

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Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State Sacramento.

In addition to educational accomplishments, Julian Vasquez Heilig has held a variety of research and practitioner positions in...