Top Teachers for Those Who Need It Most
Teach for America - Kansas City places top college graduates into teaching positions in the highest-need schools within the Kansas City
metro area to provide children in low-income communities with quality educational opportunities.
Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college
graduates – of all academic majors and career interests – who commit
two years to teach in urban and rural public schools in the nation’s
lowest income communities and become lifelong leaders for expanding
educational opportunity. TFA’s mission is to build the movement to
eliminate educational inequity by enlisting the nation’s most promising
future leaders in this effort.
The expansion of Teach For America to Kansas City was made possible by
a $2.5 million 5-year grant from the Kauffman
Foundation to establish Teach for America in the Kansas City metro area. The national problem of educational inequity is starkly evident in
the Kansas City area. Missouri Assessment Program results show a
glaring achievement gap between KCMSD students — approximately 80
percent of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch — and their peers
just 30 minutes away in a school district where only 10 percent of
students are considered low-income. Less than 29 percent of KCMSD
students scored proficient or higher on the MAP communication arts
test, compared with 53 percent in the more affluent district.
In the 2008-2009 school year, the first year of the Teach For America program in Kansas City, 50 TFA-KC corps members taught over 40 percent of the students in the Kansas City Missouri School District and at University Academy, ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade . Kansas
City will get an additional 75 recruits for the 2009-2010 school year, enough to expand the program to Hickman Mills School District
and other charter schools, bringing the total of TFA teachers in the Kansas City region to 125. The Kauffman Foundation is joined in its support of
the program by the districts and schools and a number of local
foundations and individuals.
Making an Impact
Across the country, more than 5,000 Teach for America corps members taught in
over 1,000 schools in 26 regions in the 2008-2009 school year. In its 17-year
history, Teach For America has placed 17,000 talented teachers focused
on improving student achievement and built a force of more than 12,000
alumni who continue to work within education and from all other sectors
to level the playing field for children and families in low-income
communities. More than 60 percent of Teach For America alumni remain in
the field of education, where they are starting schools, becoming
principals and district administrators, and winning accolades as
teachers, including two state teacher of the year awards in 2007.
A recent study of North Carolina schools published by Jane Hannaway and colleagues at the Urban Institute-Calder Center found that the impact of having a TFA teacher was two to three times the impact of having a teacher with three or more years of teaching experience. These findings held across all subject areas and were particularly strong in math and science.
The Teach for America Corps Members
Teach For America selects its corps from outstanding recent college
graduates and young professionals of all academic majors and career
interests. Members of the 2007 corps earned an average GPA of 3.6, and 95 percent held leadership positions in their schools or
communities. Corps members for 2008 were chosen from a pool of more
than 18,000 applicants from some of the country's most respected
colleges and universities, including 11 percent of the senior classes
at Spelman and Amherst; 10 percent of those at University of Chicago
and Duke; and more than 8 percent of the graduating seniors at Notre
Dame, Princeton, and Wellesley.
Both Missouri and Kansas are prolific sources for Teach For America
corps members. Among last year's applicants were nearly 200 students
from the University of Kansas and University of Missouri-Columbia, and
more than 7.7 percent (118 students) of the senior class of Washington
University in St. Louis.
In addition to receiving intensive residential training at Teach For America's
summer institute, Kansas City corps members will receive ongoing
training, professional development, and support from Teach For America
throughout their corps commitment.
During their two years, corps members go above and beyond traditional
expectations to ensure that more students have the educational
opportunities they deserve. Over the long-term, TFA builds a force of
leaders with the added credibility to comes from having
taught in a low-income community, who work from inside education and
from other sectors to effect the fundamental changes needed to ensure
that all children have an equal chance in life.
For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org