Monday, May 16, 2011

What ‘Teach for America’ Has Taught Us

Its founder shares 20 years worth of lessons.

I saw Wendy Kopp on C-Span a few weeks ago. She was impressively practical and realistic when talking about Teach for America, which she started in 1990. And if she was proud of what she’d done, her nostrils didn’t flare about it. I liked her.

It’s one of those programs you wished you’d been involved with, like the Peace Corps was for my generation. You go teach in a low-income part of the country for two years, right after college. A lot of the teachers stay on. Those who don’t , take the experience they got, which they likely would not have gotten, if such a program didn’t exist, and it informs their lives. It’s a plus, all around.

In the book, Kopp shares what she’s found out about schools, kids, communities. What works, what doesn’t, what ought to be done. It’s more than theory. She’s been at it 20+ years already.

She lives here. I had a hunch she’d get the nod when Cathleen Black stepped aside. Maybe she still will.

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