Growing up in Alabama my family dinner table conversations centered on the importance of a strong and well-rounded education. For my parents, this ideal went beyond good grades and what happens inside the classroom – that was important! - they also wanted to make sure my brothers and I were developing academically with a strong focus on how we could lead and serve others. My parents inspired and motivated us through their own example.

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).

Earlier this summer, teacher Aaron Bos-Lun wrote about the gay-straight alliance (GSA) he started at his school. Today, he continues his reflection on the path to making his school a safe space for all students.

Occupy Wall Street commemorated its three year anniversary by eliminating student loans for thousands of lucky Americans.

Emily Olsen-Harbich

As you kick off your school year planning, consider incorporating a lesson on sustainability!  The Center for Green Schools, at the U.S Green Building Council, would like to invite teachers to participate in this year’s Green Apple Day of Service.

Pass The Chalk Editorial Team

Twenty years ago today, on September 12, 1994, the first class of 20,000 AmeriCorps members began serving in more than 1,000 communities nationwide. At the swearing in ceremony, President Clinton described service as “a spark to rekindle the spirit” – asking the newly minted members, “What is right? What is wrong? And what are we going to do about it?”

I joined the staff of Teach For America nine years ago, and over that almost decade I’ve had the occasion to make a lot of mistakes and the opportunity to learn from them.  These learnings cover a wide array of topics and situations, from budgeting to public speaking to management, but when I reflect on where I’ve faced the greatest challenges and learned the most, the answer is clear:  I’ve had to think more about race, class, privilege, and my own personal identity in ways that I never had to before, and my very way of seeing and experiencing the world has shifted as a result.

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.

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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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