Education Journalists All Over TFA 25th Anniversary Event

 

19 Things To Do At The TFA 25th Anniversary Summit

“I love seeing teachers outside of school. It’s like seeing a dog walk on its hind legs.” (Mean Girls 2004)

With nearly 15,000 attendees expected, this week’s big Teach For America 25th Anniversary summit in Washington DC is going to generate a certain amount of media coverage and a shit-ton of social media activity. 

Already, there’s a big EdWeek deep dive and a BuzzFeed listicle 19 Things To Do At The TFA 25th Anniversary Summit complete with silly GIFs like the one above.

There are 20 sessions Friday, and another 60 on Saturday. The livestream begins Saturday morning at 9.

You can find early 200 #TFA25 speakers/moderators, all in one Twitter List.

Some of the big-name guests and speakers include Deray McKesson, Janelle Monáe, and Michelle Rhee.

There are a handful of journalists appearing at the conference, usually in some sort of moderator role: 

*NYT Sunday Magazine reporter Nike Hannah Jones is moderating a panel on “Intentionally Diverse Learning Communities.”

*NPR’s Michele Norris is appearing on a panel Saturday morning, called “Shutting Down the School-to-Prison Pipeline.” She’s also scheduled to appear at another panel, “Building a Movement: Learning Lessons from Successful Social Change Movements.”

*Hechinger Report editor Liz Willen is moderating a panel on “Alumni Trailblazers’ Perspectives” with panelists including Michelle Rhee

*Former NY Daily News reporter Joe Williams is moderating a panel called “What role should the federal government play in setting education standards?”

*On Friday, I’ll be participating in an afternoon-long session called “Becoming an Education Influencer on Twitter,” which is full of awesome speakers like RiShawn Biddle and Andre Perry. 

*I’m also doing a short session about education journalism with other reporters including folks from EdSurge and the Chronicle of Higher Education. That’s from 3-4 on Friday. 

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

A 1992 TFA poster recruiting college students to join the then little-known nonprofit.

There are also a handful of TFA alumni journalists, including James Foley, the American reporter who was killed in the Middle East not too long ago. He was TFA 1996.

*Other TFA alumni who have become education journalists include Lindsey Whitton Christ (New York 1) Liana Heitin (EdWeek), Alex Neason (Columbia/Slate), Jackie Mader and Lillian Mongeau (Hechinger Report), Sara Mosle (NYT, New Yorker, etc.), Patrick Wall (Chalkbeat), Amanda Milner Fairbanks (former NYT, GOOD). I have no idea if any or all of them are going to be at the event.

There are likely others who do not make it public that they were part of TFA for fear of raising questions about their views.

Last but not least, there are now some journalists whose kids have done TFA, including former longtime Washington Post reporter Dale Russakoff, who wrote about Newark schools in The Prize.

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.