Had a chance to read Steve Sawchuk’s recent EdWeek article on LEE, the TFA spinoff that supports alumni who want to become appointees, elected officials, and community organizers (Teach For America Spinoff Helps Alumni Gain Influence)?
It’s well worth the time, if only to get a peek at just how fledgling and diffuse the effort is. (There’s also a description of a LEE training last summer and a mention of some LEE-trained TFA alums running for LSC.)
Sure, there are now 32,000 TFA alums out there nationally, and a handful of high-profile elected and appointed leaders (one of whom, Newark’s Cami Anderson, had a rough time of it in Newark last night).
But state- or federal-level elected positions are a small minority of the campaigns that LEE participants are undertaking, the dollar amounts that LEE is giving out are pretty small, and the vast majority of the participants are focused on much smaller endeavors, it sounds like — community and school council jobs, policy positions and the like.
You can be scared of LEE — lots of folks want you to be — but that’s not the vibe you’re going to get from reading EdWeek. And I’m guessing that there’s no small number of TFA alums and LEE members who are learning about organizing and advocating for purposes other than creating more charters or bringing in more alt cert teachers.