Governor Granholm applauds Teach For America’s efforts to expand educational opportunities for Detroit schools

DETROIT, September 24, 2010-Teach For America and Detroit Public Schools today welcomed Governor Jennifer M. Granholm to Southeastern High School of Technology, where she observed classrooms of Teach For America corps members and highlighted the efforts of these teachers to help Detroit students achieve academic success. The city is home to 95 Teach For America teachers, who began teaching this fall in the Detroit Public Schools and high-need area charter schools. Teach For America’s track record of achieving results for students has earned the organization widespread support among political and community leaders across the state.

“Teach For America is having a positive impact in classrooms across the country and that is why we are grateful to have corps members in Detroit,” said Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. “We worked collaboratively to make it possible for these gifted teachers to help our students achieve a level of academic achievement that will prepare them to succeed in college and the workplace.”
Southeastern High School of Technology is one of Detroit Public Schools’ 51 Priority Schools. Three of the 26 Teach For America teachers in the Detroit Public Schools are teaching math and science at Southeastern.

“Principals have relished the opportunity to select Teach for America recruits, who are some of the highest-performing under-grads in the nation from top-performing colleges and universities, for their classrooms. The decision to bring TFA back to Detroit was a decision to do what’s best for students as part of our priority schools program,” said Robert Bobb, emergency financial manager of Detroit Public Schools.

Teach For America corps members and Detroit Public Schools teachers are working together to help students achieve ambitious targets as part of Detroit Public Schools’ 5-year academic plan. This plan includes a 98 percent graduation rate by 2015 and 100 percent of students passing the Michigan Educational Assessment Program and Michigan Merit Examination.

Teach For America recruits, trains, and supports top college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in under-resourced schools and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational equity. The 95 Detroit corps members are among more than 4,500 new Teach For America corps members nationwide, the largest incoming corps in the organization’s 20-year history. They were chosen through a highly selective process from a record 46,000 applicants. Teach For America placed more than 8,200 first- and second-year corps members in 39 regions across the country this fall.

“We are honored by the support of Governor Granholm and her efforts to help make Teach For America’s expansion to Detroit a reality,” said Annis Brown, executive director of Teach For America in Detroit, who graduated from King High School. “Today, thanks to her leadership, and the leadership of so many champions and community partners across the state, we have 95 exceptional corps members making an impact on the educational achievement of Detroit students.”

This year’s incoming corps members have an average GPA of 3.6, and 89 percent have significant leadership experience. The fastest-growing segments of the corps are graduate students and professionals seeking to have an immediate impact in education. Twenty-eight percent of incoming corps members received Pell Grants. Almost one-third are people of color, including nearly 7 percent who are Hispanic and 11 percent who are African American, which is more than double the percentage of African American graduates at the colleges where Teach For America primarily recruits.

A growing body of rigorous research demonstrates the effectiveness of Teach For America teachers. A new study from the University of North Carolina compares the effects on student achievement of graduates from the UNC teacher-preparation system with teachers from other pathways, including Teach For America. At every grade level and subject studied, students taught by Teach For America corps members did as well as or better than those taught by traditionally prepared UNC graduates. Middle school math students of Teach For America teachers received the equivalent of an extra half-year of learning.

Beyond their impact as corps members, Teach For America alumni are a growing force of leaders working from education and every other professional sector to address the root causes of educational inequity. In Michigan, more than 215 Teach For America work as leaders in education and in a variety of other sectors.

Teach For America previously placed teachers in Detroit schools from 2001 to 2003 and returned this year amid widespread community support. The organization selected Detroit as one of four expansion sites in 2010 based on the city’s remarkable community leadership, innovative vision for closing the academic achievement gap, and commitment to ensuring Teach For America’s presence can be sustained over time.
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About Teach For America
Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. Today, more than 8,200 corps members are teaching in 39 regions across the country while 20,000 Teach For America alumni continue working from inside and outside the field of education for the fundamental changes necessary to ensure educational excellence and equity. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org.

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