For nearly 20 years, Teach For America has played a pivotal role in the educational progress made across Chicago-Northwest Indiana.
When Teach For America began its work in Chicago in 2000, the city was on the brink of major change. In 1987, Education Secretary William Bennett famously said, ''I'm not sure there's a system as bad as the Chicago system.” However, at the turn of the century, the city had begun to invest in principal development, innovative data systems, and new school models.
Since then, Chicago Public Schools have become a beacon of hope. In a study that came out from Stanford in the fall of 2017, Chicago Public Schools students were shown to have made the fastest academic progress of the 100 largest school districts in the country as measured by the National Assessment for Educational Progress. For the last 18 years, Teach For America has been the primary talent pipeline for Chicago’s education system, and has provided greatly needed support to under-resourced districts in Northwest-Indiana. Sixty-seven percent of our alumni work in education, though upon joining the corps only 10 percent thought they would remain in the field.
After their time in the corps, our alumni advocate for change both inside the system and out—challenging the status quo with tough questions and innovative solutions. Though we’ve seen tremendous progress in Chicago and Northwest Indiana since Teach For America arrived in 2000, there is still much work to be done in our region, and a real opportunity to make a difference.
“We as Teach For America members, regardless of what we’re doing or we’re working, are part of a movement together.”