Teach for America, a training program that recruits college grads and trains them to teach in challenging urban and rural schools, has won over some major donors. Eli Broad is pledging $25 million; matching donations are coming from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Robertson Foundation and Steve and Sue Mandel, according to the Los Angeles Times.
While it’s a huge gift, it totals only 2% of Teach for America’s $200 million budget. According to Philanthropy News Digest, TFA hopes to attract other donors over time to help expand the endowment.
TFA has more than 8,200 members working in 39 communities across the country. Typically, teacher rookies go through an intense training program, then go to work in urban public schools and charter schools for two years.
A total of 195 TFA teachers are currently working in Atlanta Public Schools. According to their website, School superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall says, “I’m always impressed with them. I think Teach For America is having an impact in more ways than we probably even realize right now.”
While the program gets a lot of widespread praise, it also gets some criticism from traditional teacher groups who claim the training isn’t enough to create highly qualified teachers.