Archives › Teach For America

Aug 14 2013

There’s no place like home

Parental involvement is the one of the most important elements in a child’s education. If a parent is more involved with his/her child’s school experience, then that child is more likely to leave school with the tools s/he needs to succeed in life. In kindergarten, that means that if a parent is more involved with…

read more »
Aug 07 2013

Teacher evaluation tools

Today I hit SEND on the final versions of our new report cards. This means our three-, four-, and five-year-old programs are streamlined for the first time during my tenure. One thing I tried to keep in mind while developing our new syllabi, assessments, and report cards is that they need to make sense to…

read more »
Aug 05 2013

Steps and Lanes

Today I signed my agreement to officially return for a third year at my school. As a small center, we’ve had a pretty tight budget every year, but we were fortunate enough to see a slight pay increase going into next year. But my agreement also led me to some questions. Now that I’m in…

read more »

Last September, Michigan had 1,529,887 students enrolled in 883 public schools. The state manages 549 “Local Educational Authorities” (LEAs) that are loosely governed by 56 “Intermediate School Districts,” (ISDs) (1). After this week, the number of LEAs will be smaller by 2, as the State of Michigan moved forward with the dissolution of the Buena Vista School…

read more »
Jul 17 2013

Be the solution

WaPo’s Valerie Strauss, a frequent critic of “ed reform,” recently posted an interview with Rafe Esquith (a la Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire). In the interview he talks about his new book and his views on ed reform. When asked about TFA, he hits on what I believe to be our fatal flaw: Most…

read more »
Jul 12 2013


A few weeks ago, I got into a back and forth with a friend about charter schools. She accused me of being too general in my distaste for them, and blasted me for not taking a more nuanced approach to education policy. After responding to a barrage of comments on my open letter the past…

read more »
Jul 09 2013

Back to summer

For the past two weeks I worked as a bartender at Milwaukee’s summer music festival, Summerfest. It ended up being pretty fun and a great way for a lot of teachers to make some extra money — it’s hard to live, support a classroom, and go to grad school on under $30,000! But I am…

read more »
Jul 08 2013

My open letter to 2013 corps members

Dear 2013 corps members, I recently read and commented on a blog post calling on you to quit Teach For America because, as alleged in the letter, the program exacerbates inequalities, operates under a broken model, isn’t wanted by communities, and practices disaster capitalism. While I agree with many of the author’s points, I want…

read more »
Jul 02 2013

Talking TFA with WisconsinEYE

Last week Friday I sat down with TFA Milwaukee Executive Director Maurice Thomas and my fellow TFA alumnus Ryan Michaels to talk about TFA Milwaukee for WisconsinEYE. Here’s the link: During the interview we focused on our experiences in the classroom and shed some additional light on the program. I think there are a lot…

read more »
Jul 01 2013

It’s the first day of school in Chicago

Happy Monday and happy first day of July! I’ve been busy working at a local music festival, but I wanted to stop and say good luck to all the 2013 corps members in Chicago who are teaching their very first lessons today. During an interview last week I reflected back upon my first day in…

read more »
Jun 26 2013

An act of political courage

The Supreme Court’s decision to throw out a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act and dismiss the Proposition 8 case this morning weren’t the only big political headlines this week. In fact, we’re being inundated by stories packed with historical precedent. Yesterday morning, the Supreme Court threw out an integral portion of the…

read more »
Jun 25 2013

Should the state fund a teacher corps?

I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on state budgets over the past few weeks on this blog. That’s because despite questions about student test scores, teacher evaluations, poverty, or the litany of other issues that land on the education spectrum, we will always return to the almighty dollar. In Michigan and Pennsylvania, tax cuts…

read more »
Jun 22 2013

A shoutout to Detroit corps members

On June 23, 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Detroit and led “The Freedom Walk” up Woodward Avenue. After the 90-minute walk he delivered an early version of his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. We know what’s happened in the 50 years since “The Freedom Walk” downtown. Tensions in our…

read more »
Jun 21 2013

Same love

A few days ago I saw someone on Facebook post a link to a news story about either a student or a teacher being suspended for discussing the new song “Same Love” by Macklemore. Then yesterday I saw another person post a link about students in Ontario playing the song for their gay teacher as…

read more »
Jun 17 2013

How our students fail to make the grade

Time and time again I will say that my Grosse Pointe education is what makes me an eloquent individual. During my four years at Grosse Pointe South High School I had four rigorous English courses that emphasized the importance of grammar (thanks Veronica Ajavon and Brian McDonald), word choice (thanks Rose Ann Roarty), and analysis…

read more »
Jun 13 2013

Public School Plus

You know that service Hulu? Right, the one where you can watch TV shows online for free. Yeah, sometimes, if you want current TV shows with limited advertisements, you can sign up for a premium service called Hulu Plus. So, in Ann Arbor, they’re planning on doing this thing a lot like Hulu Plus. You…

read more »

When I managed the editorial page for my high school newspaper, I spent a lot of my time looking at our school district’s budget situation. Somewhere in my mother’s house I still have tapes from interviews with my principal where he told me that year after year our school and district had been facing the…

read more »

It wouldn’t be a normal day in the heartland without disheartening education headlines. On Friday, The School District of Philadelphia issued 3,783 pink slips to nearly 20 percent of its employees. Today, the Michigan Legislature will take up two bills aimed at dissolving school districts.  There’s no getting past the pure politics of these situations.…

read more »
Jun 10 2013

Charters in Tosa? No way!

When I came to Milwaukee two years ago I had to adjust to the school landscape of public, charter, private, and all of the subgroups of the three. Of course, coming from a suburban background, I only had concrete knowledge of public and private schools. Generally, in the suburbs, those are your two options. I…

read more »
Jun 09 2013

What’s next?

If I had the pleasure of seeing you any time between Christmas and my birthday, then I know I told you about my strong desire to leave the City of Milwaukee and return home to Michigan. I was ready for anything to take me away from this place and take me back home. In fact,…

read more »
Jun 05 2013

Vouchers, vouchers everywhere!

Early this morning the Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved a budget bill that would expand the state’s school voucher program from Milwaukee and Racine to all communities starting this fall. The program would be limited to 500 students this school year, 1,000 new students during each subsequent school year, and no more than 1…

read more »
Jun 04 2013

Testing is not the be all end all

My post yesterday about Common Core State Standards led to a discussion of testing and whether or not it is appropriate for students. Even though I only had eleven students my first year and twelve this past year, I believe testing is an incredibly important part of our job as educators. If we don’t test…

read more »
Jun 03 2013

Common Core is common sense

Big names in business and politics gathered on Mackinac Island last week for the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual Michigan Policy Conference. In addition to conversations about the state’s economic development efforts, a major focus of this year’s conference was education. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and “education reform activist” Michelle Rhee both had prominent roles…

read more »
May 25 2013

Alumni Induction

I had the honor of speaking at our Alumni Induction last weekend. Below are the words I shared with my corps of Milwaukee teachers. My name is Alex Morgan and I am from the City of Detroit in the great State of Michigan. I know the D as the home of the automobile, the labor…

read more »
Jan 06 2013

Recommendations and Surveys

At the beginning, middle, and end of each year, Teach For America sends a survey to its corps members and asks us to rate a number of areas with regard to our performance as teachers and the staff’s performance as guides to our professional development. While some of the questions change from survey to survey,…

read more »

About this Blog

I'm an educator, Kalamazoo College alumnus, Democrat, and proud Detroiter! Views here are my own.

Early Childhood

Subscribe to this blog (feed)