Inspiration From Teach for America
This post is belated, but I feel that people should know about the fantastic message offered last week at an event hosted by the Kansas City Public Library and cosponsored by the Show-Me Institute. Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach for America, was the latest speaker to take part in the library’s series on urban education, and her message was inspiring. Put simply, she said that for all the gloom and doom coming from those who preach that racial and socioeconomic background dictates academic potential, Teach for America is demonstrating that bright, motivated, and creative teachers can help children succeed in any setting.
For nearly two decades now, Teach for America has been persuading graduates of the nation’s best universities to commit to spending two years teaching in some of the most challenging classrooms that can be found. These range from urban schools populated almost entirely by the low-income, minority students that some proclaim to be “unteachable” to small rural schools in the Mississippi Delta or on Native American reservations, where students consistently rank among the lowest achievers in academic performance. Regardless of the circumstances, Teach for America’s recruits have demonstrated that a good teacher can make all the difference in the world when it comes to inspiring students to academic success. And, thanks to the experiences they have with the Teach for America program, more than two thirds of the program’s alumni continue to work in the field of education when their two-year commitments expire.
Kansas City has just recently started welcoming Teach for America recruits into its school district, and the preliminary results are very promising. So promising, in fact, that the district is clamoring to get as many of them as possible for the upcoming school year! This is an excellent development, and it gives me hope that the prospects are improving for Kansas City public schools.