The Eye Opener serves many purposes. Not only do we serve as patient advocates, but we do our best to provide information to the community on a variety of topics. There is little else that is more important to the health of a community than its educational system. Committed to the health of our community, I recently attended an event sponsored by the Enoch Pratt Free Library: An intimate discussion with Wendy Kopp, author of A Chance to Make History.
By most objective standards, many of our nation’s schools are failing. The national conversation about education has been ongoing and has resulted in a series of changes to the way we educate our children. The people driving those changes often go unrecognized by the greater public. Their efforts are profound, but unless you are in some way connected to the educational movement, their names are not easily recognized. Let me introduce Wendy Kopp and Teach for America.
“Wendy Kopp is the chief executive officer and founder of Teach For America, whose mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting the nation’s most promising future leaders in the effort. She is also chief executive officer and co-founder of Teach For All, which is working to accelerate and increase the impact of this model around the world.
Wendy proposed the creation of Teach For America in her undergraduate senior thesis in 1989. Today more than 8,000 Teach For America corps members are in the midst of two year teaching commitments in 39 regions across the country, reaching over 500,000 students, and 20,000 alumni are working inside and outside the field of education to continue the effort to ensure educational excellence and equity.
Since 2007, Wendy has led the development of Teach For All to be responsive to requests for support from social entrepreneurs around the world who are passionate about adapting the model to their contexts. Teach For All is a growing global network of independent organizations pursuing this mission in 18 countries, from India and China to Brazil and Lebanon. ”
Recently, Wendy was in town to discuss the education of America’s children. The same questions remain: “How do we ensure that every child is provided with a top-notch education, regardless of their socio-economic status?” “How can we empower teachers to change the lives of their students?” “How do we ensure that education is funded at appropriate levels?” At an event moderated by Freeman Hrabowski, president of my alma mater UMBC, Wendy provided insightful answers to these questions. The progress made in Baltimore and Washington D.C. schools is remarkable and is in no small part as a result of the efforts of Teach for America.
The reality, however, is that Wendy Kopp, Teach for America and its supporters cannot do it alone. Improving education should be a community goal shared by all. So I issue the challenge to you: what can you contribute to ensure that our children receive an excellent education? Can you give your time? Your wealth? Please feel free to leave your comments below…
Pictured above: Tai Dixon of Baltimore Teach for America and I.