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Tuesday, March 15, 2011


In our chapter on bureaucracy and the administrative state, we discuss the motivations of people who work for the federal government. The White House blog today features Taryn Benarroch, who serves as Confidential Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Education.

How did you become interested in working for the Federal government?

My father was born and raised in Morocco and Israel, so as a first generation American on one side I have a healthy appreciation for democracy and for the benefits of living in this country. I am fascinated by the system that ensures the freedoms that many of us take for granted. The right to speak, write, gather, worship, and vote however we want to – we have amazing freedoms and I feel that serving in the federal government supports the systems uphold the freedoms that I value.

What inspired you to pursue your field of interest?

My mother is a teacher and I have always seen teaching as one of the most important ways someone can serve their community, but there was not one moment that pushed me into education. As a college senior I knew I wanted to do something to serve, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity. I had the opportunity to teach in New York City after graduation and after only a few months in the classroom it became obvious that my kids in the South Bronx weren’t getting the same education that the kids in the wealthier parts of Manhattan got. There were, however, many dedicated teachers around me and I was able to see the magic that happens when a great teacher works with a class for a year – it’s incredible. Seeing students make academic gains, appreciating and questioning the world around them – it is the living embodiment of education as a great equalizer. There are many ways to work to make things more equitable in this world, but I want to work to find a way to get a fantastic teacher and amazing schools for every child.