Robyn Fehrman

Last week, the school board of Durham Public Schools opted not to extend its contract with TFA. Durham is one of the 18 communities in North Carolina with which TFA partners and, as the district where I send my 5-year-old to kindergarten every morning, it’s a place that matters to me deeply. While I am proud to know that so many parents and principals contacted the board to express their support for continued partnership and describe the influence corps members have in their students’ lives, I also worry about the implications of the decision.

Graduates of the Tennessee school system will soon have the prettiest handwriting in America. While most states have written off penmanship as recommended under the Common Core standards, Tennessee is requiring that penmanship classes remain in the curriculum

This spring, 12 alumni members of The Collective, Teach For America’s alumni of color association, participated in selecting corps members alongside Teach For America staff members. Their involvement was entitled “The Collective Selects,” and its purpose was to gather input and perspectives from alumni to inform Teach For America’s desire to live up to our organizational commitment to diversity. Below is a reflection from one of the 12 participating alumni, Rudy Acosta (NY ’03).

Amanda Dees

(Photo of Amanda Dees and her adoptive parents)

Blair Mishleau portrait

(Photo Credit:  Renee Barron


Next week, I begin year three in the classroom. This was a choice I had been planning on since before I joined the ’12 corps. I knew I would teach at least three years. It was one of the only things I was very sure of, for some unknown reason.

Dianne Hackett

“We need to talk about hitting.” No parent looks forward to being greeted by her son’s preschool teacher with that news. And yet, in the almost 3 years since our son, Sawyer, has been enrolled in early care settings, my husband and I have been met, numerous times, with news of him hitting another child… and biting… and, just this week, pinching!

Watching the shocking, appalling images coming out of Ferguson via Twitter over the last two weeks, I’ve been feeling like a spectator to an effort to preserve American civil liberties and uphold our American ideals, but not a contributor to it.

(Photo courtesy of DeRay McKesson)

“I got my hands on my head, please don’t shoot me dead.”

From the 5 days that I’ve been here marching and protesting thus far, this chant hits me the hardest.

The Pass The Chalk Editorial Team
Brittany Packnett

The air is thick here in Ferguson.

Here, in my hometown, only 12 minutes from my house, the air is thick with racial tension, mounting distrust of authority, flowing tears of a community in grief and civil unrest and frustration with consistent injustice.

The air is also thick with tear gas. 

By now, you’ve seen national news reports that tell you what I’ve known all my life: North County can be especially dangerous for black folk.  Black men.  Young black men. Young black men like Mike Brown.

Last Saturday, our young brother Mike, in whom his mother had placed her hopes and dreams, was murdered at the hands of someone meant to serve and protect, but who for decades has only been seen as one who intimidates and terrorizes.

Years earlier, my brother’s first encounter with police brutality occurred in a neighborhood with an eerily similar reputation, directly adjacent to Ferguson.  My father, a well-respected Pastor and College Professor was thrown against the hood of his imported car and beaten as my brother watched, screaming and crying from the backseat. 

My brother was 5.

That was 20 years ago.

In those 20 years, the story has remained the same.  Strike that.  The story has actually changed.  It is now deadly.

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We believe education is the most pressing issue facing our nation. On Pass the Chalk, we'll share our takes on the issues of the day, join the online conversation about education, and tell stories from classrooms, schools, and communities around the nation.

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