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Answer Sheet
Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 07/13/2011

Teach for America’s Wendy Kopp’s global reach

An organization in China called the China Education Initiative recently approved a change of name to Teach for China. Sound familiar?

Teach for China is a partner of Wendy Kopp’s Teach for America, which itself is part of a global organization called Teach for All that Kopp co-founded and for which she serves as chief executive officer.

The United States of America apparently isn’t big enough for the founder of the 20-year-old TFA, which recruits college graduates (initially exclusively from the Ivy League though now from other schools too), gives them five weeks of summer training and then places them in high-needs schools. Recruits must give a commitment of two years.

Teach for All is a network of like-minded school reform organizations in countries around the world that, as the website says, “all recruit outstanding university graduates and young leaders of a variety of disciplines and career interests to commit two years to teach in high-need areas, providing a critical source of additional teachers who ensure their students have the educational opportunities they deserve, despite socioeconomic factors.”

Apparently it isn’t only in the United States where people fool themselves into thinking that college graduates with a little training can uniformly be great teachers.
Teach for All includes organizations in 19 countries in Europe, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East, according to the website, with programs in 10 to 20 more countries expected to join the network within a few years.

The “unifying mission” of the network members is the same as Teach for America’s, which is aimed at creating a network of alumni who, as they assume important roles in society, can advocate for public education.

“Over time, alumni work as leaders in the classroom, in education more broadly, and across all sectors to effect the fundamental changes necessary to ensure educational opportunity for all,” the Teach for All website says.

There is something at least mildly arrogant about an organization that believes that it has the answer to fixing public education, but, setting that aside, I can’t help but wonder why urban public education in this country is still so troubled given that there are now more than 20,000 Teach for America alumni out in the world.

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By  |  04:00 AM ET, 07/13/2011

 
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