Last week, we read Dana Goldstein’s piece in Vox about the evolution of Teach For America. We’ve posted some reflections below, and would love to continue the dialogue here on Pass The Chalk. Please share your own thoughts and reactions—your voice helps us get better.

Today, an article in the Denver Post reported that districts in Colorado aren’t enticed by Teach For America’s efforts  to recruit and support teachers of color. Though Teach For America-Colorado is not the sole solution to building a more diverse talent pipeline in high-needs schools, we were disheartened to see how this article misrepresented our strong partnerships with schools across the state, as well as our local impact and retention.

Route 11 cuts a path through Clay County, Kentucky—the spring green hillsides a visual history of Appalachia’s last 50 years. Idled mines sit behind large, ornate gates where proud men once passed. The large bricked homes of middle- and upper-income Clay Countians nestle next to small, wood-sided homes and trailers where it’s hard to imagine children laying their heads each night. The signs of long-ago-closed mom-and-pop shops still advertise the $4 daily lunch special.

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

Amanda Dees

(Photo of Amanda Dees and her adoptive parents)

(Photo credit: Chicago 2016)

As a doctoral student in education and psychology, I am exploring the diversity of attitudes black teachers have toward race and its place in American education today. 

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.

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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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The thoughts, ideas, and opinions expressed on Pass the Chalk are the responsibility of individual bloggers. Unless explicitly stated, blog posts do not represent the views of Teach For America as an organization. 

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