Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kopp on the impact of Teach For America in the Rio Grande Valley

Wendy Kopp wrote this article about the impact TFA teachers have made in the Rio Grande Valley:

A couple of years ago, in a particularly striking example of the impact of transformational teaching, a group of Teach For America corps members and non–Teach For America teachers in the small border town of Roma, Texas, worked together to bring their students to Harvard for a college visit. The teachers and students had spent countless evenings selling nachos at middle school volleyball games, reaching out to local businesses, and hosting various events to raise funds for the trip. The teachers (and a Teach For America alumna who was a principal) raised money by reaching out to friends and relatives as well. Having grown up in one of the poorest counties in the country, many of the students had never been out of Texas except to Mexico, and most of those who had traveled did so as migrant workers picking or canning fruit with their families in other states during the summer. Most had never been on an airplane.

…A steady stream of corps members teaching in Roma have insisted on rigorous college-focused instruction in subjects like AP English. Their work helped lead to the first Roma students passing advanced placement exams in a number of courses, including literature, English, U.S. history, and world history. Some of these teachers ran after-school ACT and SAT preparation courses for Roma students and helped focus students on college-ready writing skills.

Today, high-achieving students in Roma—thanks in part to the support, mentoring, academic instruction, and guidance from Teach For America teachers—have more options and possibilities than they once had. Roma has sent students to top-ranked universities all over the United States and Mexico. In the past few years, its top graduates have headed off to the likes of Harvard, Brown, Duke, Vassar, the University of Houston, the State University of New York, Austin College, and Georgetown.

Take a look at this video narrated by Wendy Kopp about A Chance to Make History and her goal to ensure educational opportunity for all of our nation's children, regardless of their racial or economic background: http://www.care2.com/causes/education/blog/a-chance-to-make-history-wendy-kopps-vision-of-education-reform-on-the-20th-anniversary-of-teach-for-america/

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