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Really well written! I’ve had this discussion about TFA many times (are they a teacher development organization or an educational leadership pipeline?), and I think your writeup makes it clear that they way they currently operate isn’t really set up to effectively develop teachers.

Interestingly enough, on TFA’s website their stated mission is actually “Our mission is to enlist, develop, and mobilize as many as possible of our nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence.” So they don’t actually mention anything about teaching in their mission statement. Instead, their stated goal is to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence. If you actually consider this to be TFA’s business model, then in a lot of ways their operating model starts to look more effective. Even though a lot of TFA alums don’t stay in the classroom, the vast majority of them still stay involved in education in some way and are going to be advocates for and supporters of educational equality in the future. And the fact that TFA has pulled in people who likely otherwise would have gone straight to consulting or banking has to be considered a positive for the education reform movement as a whole.

That being said, even if TFA’s ultimate goal is to develop future education leaders, they still shouldn’t be sending undersupported underprepared teachers into classrooms where kids really need and deserve good teachers. So as you mention, they should either get out of the teacher pipeline business altogether or shift their operating model to better serve the needs of the students they’re ultimately serving. Would be awesome to continue this discussion offline!

On December 13, 2015, AnanthK commented on Pomona and the winning model of elite liberal arts colleges :

Great writeup! I actually think the Consortium aspect of the Claremont Colleges is really interesting and would love to know more about it. For example, how much of the per-student costs that Pomona is incurring are actually being assigned to the shared services among all the Claremont colleges? Allowing each college to specialize in the value proposition they’re actually providing to students while still relying on a centralized cost base for things that can be common (such as food, general resources, etc) is a great idea and one that ideally would be utilized more in higher ed to reduce duplicative costs.

On December 13, 2015, AnanthK commented on Taco Bell: When You Don’t Have Time for Freshness :

I had no idea that Taco Bell does all of its food preparation off-site, that’s really interesting! In a lot of ways that makes them much more like a chain like Subway, which I believe also only does the “assembly and delivery” components rather than doing a lot of on-site prep. Are other major fast food chains also moving to this asset light model, or is this an opportunity that works better for Mexican food than for burgers?

I also agree that a large part of Taco Bell’s customer value proposition is on speed and price, but I think a significant portion of their business model is also based on customer loyalty around specific products that can’t be found anywhere else (like cheesy gordita crunches, crunchwrap supremes, etc). Does Taco Bell have a unique operating model for developing menu items that will keep people coming back? For example, would be really interested to know how they came up with the Doritos Locos taco!