Friday, March 12, 2010

Help support Teach For America by contacting your member of congress

Here is an appeal from Wendy Kopp to help build political support TFA (see below for list of key members of Congress):


I'm writing to let you know about some recent developments related to federal budget support for Teach For America-which is critical to our work-and to ask for your help in our effort to restore and increase our federal funding for FY11.


Teach For America is at a unique moment in our history. With record numbers of applications from top-quality prospects, rising demand from school districts, and a growing body of rigorous, independent research demonstrating our impact, we have an unprecedented opportunity to expand our work, reach more students in low-income communities than ever before, and grow the force of leaders who will work to expand educational opportunity throughout their lives.


To achieve our full potential, we are dependent on a reliable, recurring stream of federal funding. This year, just over 10 percent of our annual budget came from direct appropriations-$18 million from the Department of Education, and $3 million from NASA for training and support of math and science teachers.


For FY11, we have requested an increase in federal funding to $50 million. Congress is now considering an Administration proposal that would replace direct allocations of funding with a system of competitive grants. This change is grounded in principles in which we believe-accountability and competition based on demonstrated results-and we wholeheartedly support the Administration's work to improve education in low-income communities. Unfortunately, this system creates two problems for us: 


·         First, because of the timing of the new proposed grants programs, we would effectively lose a year of federal funding. This would require us to reduce our 2011 corps size by 30 percent versus our plan-a reduction of 1,350 corps members who could otherwise reach more than 86,000 students in low-income communities across the country.


·         Second, over the long term, Teach For America will not be able to operate at scale unless it is able to secure direct, sustained federal funding. Because we make a commitment to support our corps members for two years and beyond, we will not pursue significant expansion without reasonable confidence that continued funding will be available, of course subject to our own continued demonstration of results.


We'd like your help to amplify our efforts on Capitol Hill, by helping us connect directly with Members of Congress, particularly relevant appropriators. A full list of appropriators is below, though we're also seeking Members to sign on to letters, sponsored by Representative Chris Van Hollen in the House and Senator Barbara Mikulski in the Senate, expressing their support to Appropriations Committee members. If you have contacts that you think could be helpful in this effort, please e-mail us and we'll work together to figure out how to best leverage your contacts.


In addition to this targeted outreach, we have launched an all-hands-on-deck grassroots campaign to mobilize alumni, corps members, staff, matriculants, and others to build support for our budget request on the Hill. For more information on the grassroots campaign, and if you'd like to sign up for alerts that will connect you directly to your representatives' offices at key times, please visit


Key Members of Congress



LHHS Subcommittee


David Obey, WI (chairman)

Nita Lowey, NY

Rosa DeLauro, CT

Jesse Jackson, Jr., IL

Patrick Kennedy, RI

Lucille Roybal-Allard, CA

Barbara Lee, CA

Michael Honda, CA

Betty McCollum, MN

Tim Ryan, OH

Jim Moran, VA


Todd Tiahrt, KS (ranking member)

Dennis Rehberg, MT

Rodney Alexander, LA

Jo Bonner, AL

Tom Cole, OK

Jerry Lewis, CA, Ex Officio  



LHHS Subcommittee


Tom Harkin, IA (chairman)

Daniel Inouye, HI

Herb Kohl, WI

Patty Murray, WA

Mary Landrieu, LA

Richard Durbin, IL

Jack Reed, RI

Mark Pryor, AR

Arlen Specter, PA


Thad Cochran, MS (ranking member)

Judd Gregg, NH

Kay Bailey Hutchison, TX

Richard Shelby, AL

Lamar Alexander, TN  

Leadership and Other Key Members

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Majority Leader

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Chair

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Republican Senate Campaign Committee Chair

Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member, HELP Committee

Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Speaker of the House

Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Majority Leader

Representative John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority  Leader

Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Ranking Member, House Appropriations Committee

Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair (note: Rep. Van Hollen is sponsoring a letter to the House LHHS Subcommittee in favor of our $50M budget request)

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