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December 10, 2007

Advocating Teach for America in Wisconsin

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Editorial:

It's exhausting work, the pay is low, the fruits of the labor are sometimes hard to see. But those facts haven't discouraged thousands of America's brightest college students from applying to work for the fast-growing non-profit Teach for America.

Wisconsin's most troubled urban school districts might benefit from this program, in which new graduates from some of America's most prestigious universities spend two years teaching in low-income schools.

State education officials, local administrators and the teachers unions should make reasonable accommodations so that no artificial barriers prevent the program from being launched in Wisconsin. The Kern Family Foundation of Waukesha, which has education reform as part of its mission, is pushing to bring Teach for America to the state.

Teach for America grew out of a senior thesis by founder Wendy Kopp at Princeton University. During its first year in 1990, the organization sent 500 people into six low-income communities. This year, 5,000 TFA teachers are working across the country, and the TFA alumni network numbers thousands more.

Teach for America recruits and trains recent graduates from schools like Dartmouth, Princeton, Notre Dame, Marquette and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The 2007 class has 43 UW alumni; nearly 500 from Wisconsin's public and private schools have participated since the program's inception. TFA trains the new teachers and helps them obtain alternative certifications; the schools pay their salaries.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at December 10, 2007 9:25 AM
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