Wendy Kopp is the iconic co-founder and CEO of Teach For All (TFA, estb.2007), a New York-based global network of 50 independent voluntary organisations soldiering to end education inequality by recruiting talented college graduates/professionals to teach for two years in underperforming government and private budget schools worldwide. Over the past 12 years, TFA and its network partners have placed over 65,000 teachers in over 6,000 low-income schools impacting 600,000 under-privileged children in 50 countries across six continents. Included in Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people (2008), Kopp is also on the board of Teach For America, which she founded in 1989.
Newspeg. Kopp was in Mumbai in early February to speak at version 3.0 Kids Education Revolution (KER), a student-led national summit organised by Teach For India (estb. in 2009 by Shaheen Mistri, founder-director of reputed education NGO Akanksha). The third KER summit attracted 600 educators and 1,500 children from across the country.
History. An arts graduate of the blue-chip Princeton University, Kopp proposed promotion of Teach For America in her undergraduate thesis paper and launched it immediately after graduating in 1989. Teach For America recruits outstanding college graduates/professionals on two-year contracts to teach in under-performing government and private schools for low-income households. Subsequently in 2007, Kopp promoted Teach For All, enlisting social entrepreneurs around the world to adapt and implement the Teach For America model in their native countries. In 2013, after serving as CEO of Teach For America for 24 years, Kopp stepped down and assumed full-time charge as chief executive of Teach For All.
Direct talk. “Teach For America was promoted to marshal the talent and energy of the best of my generation to end education inequality in the United States. Teach For All is a replica of Teach For America with global reach. Our hope is that after they have served for two years, TFA fellows will continue to serve the cause of education and work with education institutions and teachers. In particular, I am delighted with the work of Teach For India. This exemplary NGO has inspired and recruited 4,000 of India’s best college graduates to teach in under-performing low-income schools in seven cities,” says Kopp.
Future plans. Kopp believes that by harnessing the talents of the best and brightest college graduates on short-term contracts in over 50 countries, TFA has awakened them to the huge potential of children in socio-economically underprivileged households. “More than 70 percent of TFA fellows choose to work full-time in education with the others sensitised to the importance of good quality school education to reduce social inequality in their countries.
Over the next few years, we hope to expand the TFA network to more countries and build a global force of locally rooted and globally informed leaders for change in education,” says Kopp.
Dipta Joshi (Mumbai)