August 19, 2003
leaving the children behind.....
Princeton University's motto is "In The Nation's Service". Wendy Kopp, who graduated from my alma mater in 1989 took that idea to heart when she founded Teach for America in 1990 as a way to provide higher quality teachers in some of the most disadvantaged neigborhoods in the county. TFA would provide college scholarships to students who committed to teaching in inner city schools for 2 years after graduation. Over the last decade, TFA has helped over 9000 students through college, who then, in turn, helped educate over 1.25 million kids across the country.
A large part of why Teach for America was so successful was because it received substantial grants as a part of President Clinton's AmeriCorps initiative. Which is why many people breathed a sigh of relief last year when President Bush praised TFA as a model of the kind of civic volunteerism he envisioned for the whole country.
That is, of course, before Bush cut the funding to AmeriCorps and dropped Teach for America from the program completely. Over 3000 college students who'd been accepted into Teach for America this year are suddenly finding themselves without their scholarships just before the new school year and just as state universities across the country are increasing tuition by as much 40%. Let alone the kids who won't have the value of a young, dedicated teacher through the program.
This is the true face of Bush's fiscal policy. Don't forget it.