By Harrison Howe
An Education for All
Question: What do you get when you bring together the founder of one successful U.S.-based nonprofit organization intent on bringing an education to low-income students, the founder of its British counterpart and a global management consulting company with a proven track record?
Answer: an international effort adapting the model of the U.S.- and British-based organizations, delivering education to impoverished areas around the world.
And that's pretty much how Teach for All was started. In 2007 Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, began talks with Brett Wigdortz, who founded Teach First in the United Kingdom in 2002. Since both organizations were focused on 'educational inequality and equity' within their respective countries, why not collaborate, they decided, to expand their talents worldwide? With the help of consultants McKinsey and Company, they set out to do just that.
By September 2007, the formation of Teach for All was announced by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, Britain's former Prime Minister, at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Established in 2005, CGI's mission, according to its website, is to 'inspire, connect and empower a community of global leaders to forge solutions to the world's most pressing challenges.' To that end, CGI has worked in 170 countries to address and improve education, information technology, health, financial services and environmental issues.
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A Model for Success
The concept of Teach for America, which was developed as an undergraduate senior thesis by Wendy Kopp in 1989 and established in 1990, is a simple but effective one: enlist the country's most promising young leaders to teach at schools in low-income areas and have them commit to do so for two years.
Similarly, Teach for All turns its attentions to needy schools and also requires teachers to give 2-year commitments. With about 1,500 teachers in more than a dozen countries (including Argentina, Australia, China, Germany, India, Israel, Peru and Spain), the network seems well on its way to fulfilling its mission. And it has also made its own 2-year commitment: it plans to have no less than ten, and perhaps as many as 20, countries join the organization within that timeframe.
With all its success you might think Teach for All would be making headlines, but up to now the organization is pretty much flying under the media's radar. Perhaps if it reaches its goals over the next two years, we will then see Teach for All get all the recognition it deserves.
Learn how Brazil's Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) is working to bring education to low-income areas of that country.