A huge amount of attention is rightly being given by critical educators in the US to the phenomenon known as Teach For America (TfA). It is an organisation which puts young graduates into low income schools after only 5 weeks of training, who undertake to spend at least two years teaching in public schools. TfA 'associates' as they are known, are given simplistic strategies and scripts to help them cope and are fed the line that regular teachers are failing public school children and even that there are not enough teachers to staff schools - this in a situation where teachers for example in Chicago are being made redundant, while 500 TfAers are taken on. As well as being a direct attack on the professional training of teachers, TfA undermines union organisation in schools by providing a constant stream of compliant and inexperienced labour.

US students are organising resistance to TfA recruitment on campuses. In a statement Students for Public Education said of the organisation: "What started as a nonprofit dedicated to solving teacher shortages has become a highly political organization that threatens to perpetuate inequalities in low-income communities both through its teaching model and its connection to the corporate education reform movement. SUPE chapters and other college students across the country will be leafletting, holding teach-ins and panels and raising critical questions and consciousness about TFA to college students and campus communities."

Now a series of research articles is planned, since TfA is seen as central to the 'reform' project which is systematically denigrating and weakening public education in the US. Announcing the series, the journal Critical Education points out that: "supporters call (TfA) the most significant force in educational reform today." What seems to be slipping under the radar however, is that TfA is part of a global phenomenon. Look up Teach for All on the internet and you will find thirty countries which have their own organisations - from South Africa to India, Bulgaria to Chile. Many of these organisations are set up in some of the most underfunded public school systems in the world, working with the poorest of the poor. I spent some time researching in a Mumbai school, where I came across Teach for India 'associates', eager young business people who had no intention of carrying on in teaching - why would they when the salary is round about $100 a month, less if you are on a temporary contract, the conditions are appalling and the class sizes huge? Teach for India policy is only to teach through the medium of English - and - like their US counterparts, they teach according to an instrumentalist and mechanical strategy which includes chanting phrases like 'we are responsible leaders' and systems of rewards and punisments in charts on the wall. The media group Times of India, one of the main sponsors of Teach for India, calls the scheme 'a break from a blue chip job'.

A key part of the Teach for All strategy is that after the two years, the so-called 'alumni' go on to work in education administration. I met a young English person who had done the programme in the UK for two years and was now working in Detroit, teaching veteran teachers how to 'improve' their work. One of the Indian associates I met was intending to become part of the organisation. The national organisation websites all make clear that one of the main aims of the programme is to provide 'leaders' in education and boasts that TfA alumni for example, "are already getting appointed to superintendencies, running many of the highest-performing schools in low-income communities, and winning the highest accolades teachers can win."

Fundamental to the 'vision' underpinning Teach for All is that education is the solution to poverty. This is a useful philosophy for the Bill Gates and Rupert Murdochs of the world, who are at the heart of the education 'reform' movement. It not only gives them someone to blame for the appalling global inequality of income which is becoming more and more part of the public discourse, namely the public school teacher, it also absolves them from any lingering worry that the economic relations of the world may have to change. The minimally trained TfA 'associates' can, according to their website: "ensure their students have the educational opportunities they deserve, despite socioeconomic factors." It is perhaps not surprising that the list of sponsors and donors for Teach for All is a roll call of the biggest banks and businesses across the world, including Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Visa and JP Morgan.

Teach for All is a typical example of the way in which the neo-liberal transformation of education for low income children is a global project. There is a crying need for global research and global solidarity in the face of it.