Most important, Teach for America gets results in the classroom. A study in 2004 by Mathematica Policy Research found that corps members “produced higher test scores than the other teachers in their schools; not just other novice teachers or uncertified teachers, but also veterans and certified teachers.”
Crutchfield and McLeod Grant also review what doesn’t work: confrontation and violence. “None of the high-impact nonprofits that we studied use extremist tactics to achieve social change,” they note. There’s a lesson there for groups such as Greenpeace and Code Pink: You’re shooting yourselves in the foot.
These extremists would be more successful if they’d avoid standoffs and follow the model pioneered by the group Environmental Defense. It’s created partnerships with big businesses such as McDonald’s and Wal-Mart to reduce waste and clean the environment. Markets work, and Environmental Defense helped “create new markets to change corporate behavior,” the authors write. Environmental Defense is now dedicated to “Finding the Ways That Work.” Sound advice for any advocate.
The Heritage Foundation has devoted itself to the mission of reducing the size and scope of government. Much remains to be done, but we’ve already scored some big victories.
We’re proud that Crutchfield and McLeod Grant consider us a force for good, and we hope that, as we keep fighting for our values, we’ll also encourage others to do so. That’s the best way to deliver the “change” our country needs.