What if, upon graduating from college, grad school, or even high school, you had the opportunity to sit down with thirty of the world's most fascinating and accomplished leaders and have an intimate talk?
I talked with world leaders from India, England, Finland and Europe about their goals to improve education. Each had a distinct project and clear opinions about what was the most important facet of education to focus on.
In order for us to one day achieve the vision of providing all children with excellent education, Teach For All and other social impact alliances must increasingly come together to improve the breadth and depth of work being done.
You'd think that that public television would support public education, but you'd be wrong. The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) has gotten in bed with the billionaires and conservatives who want to privatize our public schools.
Listen to any conservative talk show host and they'll regularly remind their audience that the Republicans are the party of ideas and that their books consistently top the best-seller charts. But for some undiagnosed reason they've managed to win only two of the past six presidential elections.
When I started Teach For America, I wasn't trying to come up with an idea that would change the world. I was trying to solve a problem much closer to home: I was a senior in college and I had no idea what I was going to do with my life! I'm sure that doesn't sound at all familiar.
"Teach For America exists to address the incredible gaps in educational outcomes that persist along racial and socio-economic lines in our country. We believe this is the greatest civil rights issue of our generation."
We will have to learn to hold two ideas at the same time: We must both reduce poverty and improve our schools. We cannot fix our schools without strengthening the teaching profession and addressing the social conditions that shape their outcomes.
No doubt the road ahead will be filled with challenges and pitfalls, but, with help, we believe these emerging leaders will replace cynicism with hope, callousness with compassion, and destructive self-interest with creation of societal gains.
Some hail it as the solution to our need for highly qualified teachers in every classroom. Others define it as a stopgap measure based on a model so transitory to make it dangerous at best, and racist at worst.