I joined Teach For America 16 years ago as part of the 1992 Houston corps (the best TFA corps ever–see here and here and here and here and here and–wild card edition! – here). Like two-thirds of TFA alumni, I’m still working full-time in the education space. Why?
My sense of outrage gets sparked anew on a weekly basis. Someone told me yesterday that they think the world is hardened to realities like “billions of people living on a dollar a day.” True. But I actually think most people in America simply don’t get how bad things are and the extent to which this country fails millions of kids–really, dooms kids to a lifetime of poverty–on a daily basis.
Does the average voter know these realities: that only about half of African-American high school kids graduate from high school within four years, or that the Detroit City School System graduates 25 percent of students in four years and the Indianapolis Public Schools graduate 30 percent of students? Or that even among low-income kids who do graduate, only half immediately enroll in college? That kids in low-income areas are seven times less likely to graduate from college than their wealthier peers?
And yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. We see evidence every day of different results in individual classrooms. In individual schools. In whole networks of schools. The point is that when you see that the world actually could look different, you start to believe that there is a moral imperative, and the only question is how.
Here is a video for 5 minutes of inspiration this weekend from my friends at KIPP. Peace.
–Guestblogger Kevin Huffman