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Women Who Inspire Us

Women Who Inspire Us

Not many 21 year olds can claim to have gathered 2.5 million dollars to fund an idea that they could just not let go. Talk about inspiring! In her senior year at Princeton University, Wendy Kopp proposed the idea for Teach for America in her undergraduate thesis. She was sure that many of her peers were seeking to do something meaningful in their lives instead of rushing to a 6 figure job. Turns out, she was right.

A year later, in 1990, Kopp initiated Teach For America. That year, she started the program with 500 men and women who began teaching in needy communities. Fast forward to 15 years later and you will find that Teach For America has substantially grown. This organization now boasts 3,500 current members, in addition to, the more than 10,000 alumni.

Kopp shares her story in her book, One Day, All Children, part memoir, part guide book. Read it and perhaps you too will be inspired to follow your dreams.


Do you think our country's children are getting a better education now than they were 10 years ago?

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  • kareanderson By kareanderson
    03.01.07  

    I have long admired Wendy for her clarity of purpose - a powerfully simple business model that truly demonstrates the power of us - when we bring out each others' best sides we can become happier & higher-performing together. Methinks she'll have many diverse chapters to her life story and that we might watch for her next big idea - Kare, SmartPartnering

  • fransdottr By fransdottr
    03.10.07  

    A much larger variety of children are getting a better education than they were 10 years ago, but few children anywhere are getting the quality of education that we could deliver if we got serious about it.

  • the_flirt82 By the_flirt82
    04.12.07  

    I feel that many things have improved over the years. When my brother was in kindergarten he was almost deaf. The teacher refused to wear a headset that connected directly to an earphone he wore so he could hear her. My mother took us all out of school and homeschooled us. Today my brother is a sophmore and hears fine. Recently my parents adopted three siblings who would have been seperated otherwise. The youngest is in first grade and has Cerebral Palsey. The teachers work hand-in-hand with my mom and one-on-one with him. He is greatly improving in school and out because the teachers and other school staff are willing to help him. In this way i feel schools have greatly improved.

  • mrs_hambone By mrs_hambone
    04.14.07  

    I think the level of education differs depending on where you live.  I came from a rural community on the eastern shore of Maryland, and our education was great.  I'm sure there were places where improvements could be made... there almost always is.  Right now my husband is an Army recruiter in Texas.  He has a low income area to recruit from and most of the kids from his school that want to join can't even pass the test to get in.  That's sad.  The kids in his school are taught just the bare minimum so that they can pass the required tests for the schools to stay running.  Unfortunatly, what is there that we can do about it?  Most of the parents in his area can't afford to move to a better school district.  I think there is still a LOT more that can be done to make sure that schools are all up to the same par with each other.

  • DrMHenry By DrMHenry
    04.18.07  

    I admire Wendy's passion. However, my response to the question is quite simply, NO. But this is certainly no reflection on Wendy. Rather, a result of the governmental impact upon education...Increased testing (so that now teachers are focused on teaching HOW to take and pass the assessments, rather than teaching information, new concepts or thought-provoking theories) and buget cutting (too many schools no longer offer Art, Music or even PE classes - and we wonder why American children are becoming increasingly obese). I realize that there is no quick fix and am appreciative of all of Wendy's efforts and drive.

  • fisfall By fisfall
    05.09.07  

    I live in a large metropolitan city with a renown university, yet are public schools are breeding pits for violence and intimidation. I believe children would be better off with smaller schools from first to twelfth grades with older children taking direct responsibility for helping to teach the next lower grade. What you would have is a connected community with pride in their school

  • scidumplin By scidumplin
    05.17.07  

    We as Americans have not really gotten the idea that all children are to be educated equally. We are still educating the rich better than we are educating the poor. There is not hope if we do not begin educating the youth of America. Anyone with a good income will recieve a wonderful education for their child(ren). Families and people need to take their heads out of the sand. We need to educate the youth. If you are waiting around for the government to do it, the ship has already sailed. Your child already missed the boat.

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