A Chance to Make History by Wendy Kopp
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Teacher for America founder Wendy Kopp's book on education.
From Book List: Now in its twentieth year, with more than 8,000 members teaching across the nation and an alumni influencing educational policy and challenging public schools, Teach for America has earned a respected place in the debate on educational reform. Founder Kopp offers a perspective on lessons learned as she spotlights particularly effective teachers and techniques that have helped poor children from underperforming schools to exceed standards and get into college. Following profiles of teachers and schools, she offers lessons that are widely applicable, including the imperative to set high expectations for children from low-income families and a commitment to organizational change. Kopp defends TFA and programs developed by its alumni from charges of cherry-picking students and against the members’ short-term commitment (two years, though 60 percent exceed that minimum) and argues passionately for transformational change that includes children across the nation, regardless of race or class. She cautions against looking for silver bullets (charter schools) or “silver scapegoats” (unmotivated students), arguing that there are no simple solutions but a collection of many multilayered answers, some combination of which will work in every school. --Vanessa Bush
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