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Teach For America founder to speak about the state of public education Jan. 31
Teach For America founder to speak about the state of public education Jan. 31January 23, 2007Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
On Wednesday, Jan. 31, Wendy Kopp, president and founder of Teach For America, as well as the keynote speaker at the 1992 Syracuse University/SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Commencement, will deliver a public lecture at SU on the inequalities in public education and what can be done to close the achievement gap in our nation. Kopp will speak from 3:30-5 p.m. in Grant Auditorium, followed by a book signing until 5:30 p.m. The event is free to the public, and parking is available in University pay lots.
Teach For America is the national corps of college graduates of all academic majors who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in pursuit of educational excellence and equity. Teach For America’s mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting the country’s most promising future leaders in the effort.
Kopp proposed the creation of Teach For America in her 1989 undergraduate senior thesis at Princeton University, and she has spent the last 17 years working to sustain and grow the organization. Now, nearly 4,400 corps members teach in the country’s neediest communities, reaching about 375,000 students. They join more than 12,000 Teach For America alumni who — still in their 20s and 30s — are running some of the most acclaimed schools in urban and rural areas, advising governors and senators on education policy, marshaling the resources of companies and law firms toward education reform, and earning the highest accolades teachers can receive.
Under Kopp’s leadership, Teach For America is in the midst of an effort to grow while maximizing the impact of corps members and alumni as a force for short-term and long-term change. In her book, “One Day, All Children: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach For America and What I Learned Along the Way” (Public Affairs, 2001), Kopp describes how she created and built Teach For America, as well as her thoughts about what it will take to realize Teach For America’s vision that one day, all children in the United States will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.
“Teach For America is being imitated by city governments, changing the ways schools of education are doing business, and providing a model for corporate recruiters to use in attracting the best and the brightest to their firms,” says Bill Coplin, professor of public policy in SU’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences. “Teach For America also encourages some of the best and brightest to stay in the field of education as teachers, principals and educational policy analysts.”
Kopp serves on the board of directors of The New Teacher Project and on the advisory boards of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the National Council on Teacher Quality.
Kopp holds honorary doctorates from Connecticut College, Drew University, Mercy College, Pace University, Princeton University and Smith College.
She is the youngest person and the first woman to receive Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson Award (1993), the highest honor the school confers on its undergraduate alumni. In 1994, Time Magazine recognized her as one of the 40 most promising leaders under 40. Kopp has also been recognized with the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award (2004), Child magazine’s Children’s Champion Award (2003), the Clinton Center Award for Leadership and National Service (2003), the Schwab Foundation’s Outstanding Social Entrepreneur Award (2003), Aetna’s Voice of Conscience Award (1994), the Citizen Activist Award from the Gleitsman Foundation (1994) and the Jefferson Award for Public Service (1991).
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, where she participated in the undergraduate program of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She lives in New York City, where Teach For America is headquartered.
For more information, visit http://www.teachforamerica.org.