02 October 2008

Teach For America Act Signed into Law

We moved to Houston because I was recruited and accepted by Teach For America. As stated on their website
We recruit outstanding recent college graduates of all majors and career interests and working professionals to commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools, and we invest in the training and professionals development necessary to ensure their success as teachers in our highest-poverty communities.

I am no longer teaching, but I am still active in the Education field as a mentor for first-year teachers. Teach For America is not perfect and the criticisms associated with it are certainly valid in many ways. However, the positive aspects heavily outweigh the problems (incidentally, Teach For America constantly strives to improve said problems). Their teachers (corps members) truly work relentlessly to achieve unbelievable results for our low-income, under-achieving students. I have seen firsthand how they can energize not only a classroom, but a whole school.

Congress recently signed the Teach For America Act, for which I am grateful. Below is a video of the House floor testimony about Teach For America and the benefits reaped from supporting the organization.

Press Release about the Teach For America Act found on the Leadership for Educational Equity website:

Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) today announced that the President signed the Higher Education Opportunity Act Conference Report, a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The bill included provisions from the Teach for America Act, legislation introduced by Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Mike Castle (R-DE).

The legislation authorizes funding for the Teach for America program to recruit, select, train, and support highly-qualified, recent college graduates to serve in high-need communities. Since its creation in 1990, more than 12,000 outstanding individuals have joined Teach for America and directly affected the lives of over 2 million students across the country.

“This new law will help close the achievement gap in our country,” said Van Hollen. “Teach for America recruits enthusiastic and highly qualified young people to teach in underserved communities and fosters the next generation of education leaders.”

“We are so incredibly grateful for Representative Van Hollen’s leadership in ensuring that Teach For America was authorized as part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008,” said Wendy Kopp, Founder and CEO of Teach for America. “His tireless efforts to build broad bipartisan support for this legislation have come to fruition, marking a critical step forward in the effort to ensure that all children in this country, regardless of where they are born, have the opportunity to attain an excellent education. The passage of this legislation will allow Teach for America to expand its corps and continue to build a force of leaders who will work throughout their lives for educational excellence and equity."

This legislation authorizes $20 million in FY09 and $25 million in FY10 to help Teach for America expand its reach with 8,000 corps members serving 560,000 students in 33 communities.

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