Teach for America, Inc. Displays Taken Down in Portland and Seattle Apple Stores

According to a previous post on this blog, Parents Across America, Seattle: Part of Protest at Apple Store:

Steve Jobs with Apple has gotten on the ed reform bandwagon and is offering free iPads to Teach for America recruits but of course none to real teachers who have teaching experience, degrees in education and have devoted their lives to their school communities.  Nope, this is for the TFA, Inc. recruits with five weeks of training to teach to the test and nothing more. I guess they need some sort of way to track all of those test scores.

Check out this great video titled An Apple a Day for TFA.

The protest happened on August 13, 2011.


Part 1

Part 2

Well guess what…they took down the displays in Portland and Washington in late August although it was planned for the photo’s of all those nice, young and enthusiastic recruits to be up through September prominently displayed in the front windows of both stores. We haven’t heard about other cities and whether the displays were left up or not but in Seattle and in Portland where a protest was being planned, they were taken down.

According to a source in Portland:

About the Apple protest — I had called Apple a few times in August to complain about the Teach for America display and ask that they give
iPads to professional teachers instead. In the process I was passed around by phone from one corporate office to another, so I talked to
many people because no one seemed to know how to handle my complaint/request.

The week before we were planning to protest back-to-school week, I called to ask how long the promotion would be going on. I was told — again after being passed around — the display would go on through September and the program –giving iPads to TFA  would go on as long as people wanted to donate them. I did mention the Seattle protest. We planned to protest in Pioneer Square mall, so I  went over to find out about the legalities of protesting inside the mall versus the public sidewalk — this was a few days after the call
to Apple. When I got there, the display was gone. I asked the “genius” when it had been taken down. He said they just came to work, and it was gone — unusual he said because staff is usually told about
things like that. Then he tried to pull up the promotion on the internet. He got an error message. He tried some other ways to access
the page, because that shouldn’t happen he said. But he got nothing.

When I got home I checked the TFA website, and the promotion was still there. I sent the message out to my protest group. By the time they got the link, the TFA page posted an access denied page. Now the only evidence you can find of the campaign is from secondary web sites.

I think it was your protest and our threat of a protest that stopped the
campaign — but mostly you.

This action also got noticed at the Daily Kos, Defeating Teach for America at the Apple Store–A Small Victory.

Great going people.



  1. I do think the fact that Apple is giving away iPads to TFA members specifically; if Apple wants to help teachers, they should help all teachers and donate to high need classrooms, not specifically TFA members.

    But honestly? Slandering all TFA members as bumbling idiots who are coming into education to ‘break up the educational system so it can be privatized’ is actually ridiculous. TFA exists because there are many schools and positions that are very hard to staff. I have no idea why they take ECE corps members, but they also do place a lot of special education teachers in middle and high schools in high need communities. Many TFA members do leave after two years, but some of them stay, and some of them make great teachers. But just like some TFA members are amazing, some teachers who’ve had 4 or 6 years of education coursework are awful teachers. It goes both ways, and to say that all education majors are better than all TFA corps members is a serious misunderstanding of what TFA is trying to do.

    1. classroom,

      When Wendy Kopp, founder of TFA, Inc., started out wanting simply to help staff schools in the south that were in rural areas where there was a high need for teachers was one thing. When TFA, Inc. pushes into Seattle, a city with three schools of education and no lack of qualified teachers, that is something else entirely.

      Somewhere along the way, CEO’s of charter schools, knowing that the cost of labor was the greatest expense on their ledgers, discovered that TFA, Inc. recruits were inexpensive and better yet, they didn’t stick around very long so with the high turnover and no one staying long enough to earn a higher salary, their costs stayed lower than that of a public school.

      It’s simple accounting.

      I have no doubt that TFA, Inc. recruits have the best intentions but we just don’t need them in Seattle and we don’t want them here teaching our children, they are not qualified to do that.


  2. I love it that teachers pushed back and won. Maybe Apple will go even further and provide iPads for entire districts at an enormously appropriate rate. This would be a quantum leap for public education– lightening the loads of students who carry 50 pounds of text books on their backs throughout the day. (think online texts) It would provide unlimited ways for teachers to differentiate instruction using fabulous online learning programs that also assess– way better than MAP. (check out ALEKS.com) And it would send a message that Apple supports high quality education, not an organization with an agenda that makes no sense.

  3. My brother-in-law who is an administrator at a public high school and the rest of the teachers and administrators in the district recently all received free iPads. At first I thought it was a nice gesture by Apple, now I’m wondering if it was a response to the backlash by giving iPads only to TFA recruits.

    The disrespect given to professional teachers infuriates me. I don’t mean disrespect to TFA graduates, but most, if not all, of those TFA graduates are only going to be teaching for 2-3 years at most. Many TFA recruits see teaching as a “stepping stone” not as a career choice and aren’t going to stick with educating kids.

  4. Interesting. I hope the displays in Denver have been pulled as well. I had my own conversations with a Denver store employee, a customer service representative, and also sent a letter to Apple Executive Relations. Haven’t received acknowledgement re: the letter.

    1. This action and others has caused me believe that pushback is important and effective. It’s also like a pebble in a pond. It does have a ripple effect. What we have done here in the northwest will probably be replicated in some form in other parts of the country whether it’s about Apple and TFA, Inc. or some other egregious act.


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