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September 03, 2009
September 09, 2009
In 2006 I visited the headquarters of Teach For America in
New York City with Fordham’s Checker Finn and the head of the Columbus-based
KidsOhio Mark Real for a meeting with KIPP CEO Richard Barth. At the time, KIPP and Teach for America
were sharing office space in Manhattan and we met with Barth to try and
convince him that Columbus was a good place for KIPP expansion, which
ultimately happened in 2008.
Finally, Ohio is worthy of a red pin on the TFA map.
While waiting for the meeting to start we sat in the lobby
of the TFA office where there hung a large map of the United States with a red pin
in every state where TFA corp members were teaching. Ohio stood out like a sore
thumb because it was surrounded by states with red pins. When we met with Barth
he told us bluntly, “if you want KIPP to be successful in Ohio and grow, we
need TFA there.” TFA serves as the talent pipeline for KIPP teachers and school
leaders, as well as the pipeline for numerous other high quality charter school
programs, education reform organizations, and increasingly reform-minded school
districts and states.
Teach for America announced that it will place 90 teachers in 14 schools in
Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky over the next three years, including
Cincinnati Public Schools,
Covington Independent Public in northern Kentucky and Dayton-area
charter schools (three sponsored by Fordham). Governor Kasich summed up what
this means for Ohio when he said, “It’s
great that communities across Ohio have partnered with Teach For America to
help recruit new effective educators for some of our highest-need urban schools.
I’m confident that the long-term leadership and dedication of these teachers
will have positive impacts in schools across our state.”
Finally, Ohio is worthy of a red pin on the
TFA map. This is surely a good day for education and the children of the
Buckeye State who will benefit from the passion, smarts, dedication and
expertise of TFA corp members.