Reporting for PoliticoPro this morning, Stephanie Simon, documents the several ways in which Teach for America Rises as Political Powerhouse. Simon, a skilled investigative reporter, describes TFA’s targeted initiatives to build political power across big city school districts, the statehouses and Congress.
“TFA is now embedding select alumni in congressional offices and in high-ranking jobs in major school districts…. It’s providing start-up cash to alumni to launch ‘game-changing’ advocacy groups and business ventures. Its political arm, meanwhile, is recruiting veteran tacticians to identify key levers of power in cities such as Houston—then help alumni seize them.
For example, “TFA also selected seven alumni this year to work for senators, representatives and the House Education and the Workforce Committee. The Capitol Hill Fellows do the work of regular congressional staffers. But in an arrangement that Hill ethics experts call highly unusual—though not illegal—their salaries are funded by a private individual. The entire $500,000 cost is picked up by Arthur Rock, a wealthy venture capitalist in San Francisco.”
Simon’s story this morning is timely in the context of last week’s legislative sleight of hand by which a two year extension to what is known as the Teach For America Exemption was inserted into the deal to get the federal government back up and running.