Teach for America eyes Tampa market
Teach for America -- the national organization that aims to have recent elite college graduates commit to two years teaching in schools serving high-poverty areas -- is looking into whether it will move into the Tampa region.
Nicole Brisbane, the group's managing director for new site development, plans to visit Tampa next week to explore the viability of opening a Tampa Bay region office. She has contacted area superintendents seeking an audience to learn more about their districts and their "vision for student achievement," and to talk about the possibilities for partnership.
"We provide intensive training, support and career development that helps these leaders increase their impact and deepen their understanding of what it takes to close the achievement gap," Brisbane wrote in an e-mail to Pasco County superintendent Kurt Browning. "A growing movement of leaders, now 33,000 strong, works at every level of education, policy and other professions, to ensure that all children can receive an excellent education. Our work starts with partnerships with districts who are eager to diversify their workforce and invest in talented individuals who are trained specifically to move the needle forward for kids who experience academic hardships."
The group, which already operates in Jacksonville and Miami, has been seen as a competitor to teacher unions. It is seeking to double its national presence by 2015, sending as many as 15,000 members into schools each year. Its role in closing the achievement gap is questioned, though, as the gap has narrowed little since TFA began in 1989.
Some alumni have argued that TFA's plans to grow betray its founding ideas. Stay tuned to see what happens next.