Since 1991, Teach For America has worked alongside our partners in the Bay Area in to create opportunities for kids in our most underserved communities.
Change is happening across the Bay Area.
Take Richmond, for example. Over two decades ago, the Richmond Unified School District went bankrupt and planned to close all of its schools. Concerned parents, led by Tom Butt, had to sue California to keep the schools open, which required the state to lend the district $29 million. At a 5.7 percent interest rate, however, the district continued to struggle. To help turn the tides, Wendy Gonzalez, a concerned first-year teacher, and others marched to Sacramento on a hunger strike to lower the rates. Even with lowered rates, Richmond became the first district in California—and possibly the nation—to be taken over by the state.
After 21 years of receivership, the district has successfully repaid all of its debt and renamed itself the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD).
Currently, Teach For America alum Matthew Duffy (New York Corps '95) leads WCCUSD as superintendent. He works closely with our United Teachers of Richmond (UTR) President Demetrio González (Bay Area Corps '13) and Vice President Marissa Glidden (Bay Area Corps '13).
Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has been named the most improved urban school district in the state of California. Longtime community organizer Ron Snyder, executive director of Oakland Community Organizations, believes the bonds Teach For America corps members and alumni have forged with the community have played a vital role in Oakland’s burgeoning turnaround. “They began to work with teachers and parents,” he says of their efforts, “house to house, school to school, church to church—creating an appetite for improvement."
From Oakland to Richmond, San Jose-South Bay to San Francisco, the Bay Area is ripe for corps members like you to pull up their sleeves and work in tandem with leaders in the community to answer the question, “What does a quality education look like for all students in this community?”
“For many of us, what started as a two-year commitment has turned into a lifelong mission. Whether in the classroom, or in union and system leadership, or work in education technology, you see a passion among our alumni to do whatever it takes to eliminate the inequities our children face every day.”
Teach For America Bay Area
As a native of Derry, the birthplace of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland, the change that Paul witnessed over the past three decades in his hometown fuels his conviction that education is one of the most powerful tools to fight for social and economic justice.