Monday, August 05, 2013

Walton Family Foundation Donates $20 million to TFA

Kudos to the Walton Family Foundation for its $20 million grant to TFA! From the Washington Post:

Teach for America will add 4,000 teachers to nine cities over the next two years — including 286 in D.C. — thanks to a $20 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation announced Wednesday.
The foundation has also pledged a separate $4.3 million grant to Teach for America to train and support 1,000 teachers in the Mississippi Delta.

Here’s what the Foundation’s Ed Kirby had to say about TFA:

Here are the top five reasons the Walton Family Foundation supports Teach For America:

5.    TFA recruits talented, motivated young corps members to teach in some of our country’s lowest income communities - places where kids are desperate for high-quality educational options.

4.    TFA attracts many of the best and brightest graduates from America’s top colleges - individuals with excellent academic training and demonstrated track records as young leaders.

3.    TFA placed 10,400 teachers in 2012 and is planning for an expansion to 15,000 teachers by 2015.

2.    TFA corps members are qualified and effective. Their students achieve academic gains equal to or larger than teachers from other preparation programs, according to recent and rigorous studies on teacher effectiveness.

1.    TFA alumni are leaders who make a difference: A remarkable proportion of TFA alumni dedicate their careers to revolutionizing K-12 education in the classroom, as school leaders, policy makers, education reform advocates and elected officials.

The impressive scale of TFA’s corps membership and alumni base is of course nowhere near enough to rebuild and strengthen American K-12 education. But their high performance and proven ability to produce education reform leaders provokes this question: what can we do to help build another 10 or even 20 organizations that attract the same high performers that TFA attracts and efficiently and effectively motivate them to pursue leadership in our classrooms and schools?

Ed Kirby
Walton Family Foundation

To understand the importance of TFA and the Walton Foundation’s support of TFA, check out this AWESOME article about how TFA corps members in the Arkansas/Mississippi Delta are sticking around after their two years and making a huge impact on this depressed region:

Some longtime residents initially resented the inflow of Teach for America members with fancy degrees and backgrounds. Those troubles have largely eased over time. And the hard truth is, the Delta needs the people.

“It’s good having highly educated folks coming back,” said Chuck Roscopf, a lawyer in Helena. “My kids, my friends’ kids — they’re all gone. They’re in Dallas or just about anywhere else, but they won’t come back.”

Teach for America entered the Delta in 1992, when it dispatched a few dozen corps members to Helena and Marianna, Ark. The numbers and geographic reach expanded steadily but exploded in 2009 because of an influx of funds from the State of Mississippi and the Walton Family Foundation.

The organization now estimates that over those years, 250 corps members have stayed on after their two-year commitments were over. Some have remained in education; others found jobs in private industry and community organizations.

They have started education-based nonprofit groups, like Mississippi First and the Sunflower County Freedom Project. Mr. Friedlander and Ms. Skorupa, with other Teach for America alumni, were founding board members of a new Boys and Girls Club in Helena.

Mr. Friedlander remains a hard-charging New Yorker, which has rubbed some folks the wrong way.

“If he was just here to make money, they probably would have run him out of town,” said Jason Rolett, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Phillips County. But Mr. Friedlander has won the trust of much of the community, Mr. Rolett said, “because of his heart, how much he cares.”

Mr. Friedlander enjoys ripping through a PowerPoint presentation of Helena’s new health center, riverboat tours, renovated historic buildings, a downtown emerging from ruin and new businesses. His pride is palpable.

Helena even has its first director of an advertising and promotion commission, Julia Malinowski, 27, from Seattle.

 Subscribe in a reader