I would be less cynical about TFA if, rather than replacing certified teachers with lower paid alternatives, TFA instead supplemented them... perhaps providing tutors and enrichment programs in schools that lacked them, or even better, teacher aides. A motivated teacher aide in every classroom would instantly halve the student-teacher ratio, with all the attendant benefits that would bring. I don't know a single elementary school teacher who wouldn't go for that.
But that's not what TFA is all about. TFA is about proving that untrained newbies can teach at least as well if not better than their trained and certified counterparts. And for less money to boot. And in that sense TFA is less about improving education than it is about making it cheaper. Just like charter schools.
These are education reforms without reform, that focus almost entirely on the business of education without suggesting any particular approach toward improving the art and craft of teaching. Where once we invested in our children's education, now we outsource it. Makes me wonder how long it is before we start deriding our public school systems as just another burdensome, expensive, and unsustainable entitlement?