A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn't in Providing an Excellent Education for All

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Since 1990, Teach For America has been building a movement to end educational inequity in America. Now its founder, Wendy Kopp, shares the lessons learned from the experiences of more than 25,000 teachers and alumni who have taught and led schools in low-income communities during those years. A Chance to Make History cuts through the noise of today’s debates to describe precisely what it will take to provide transformational education—education that changes the academic and life trajectories predicted by children’s socioeconomic backgrounds. Sharing her experiences in some of the country’s most underserved communities, Kopp introduces leaders at the classroom, school, and system levels who, driven by passionate belief in their students’ potential, have set out to accomplish what most think impossible. Their inspiring stories show how we can provide children facing all the challenges of poverty with an excellent education, and that doing so involves the same ingredients that account for success in any endeavor: visionary leadership that sets ambitious goals and puts forth the energy and discipline to reach them. Kopp’s experiences and insights also shine light on why we have not made more progress against educational inequity—how and why the intense but misguided quest for easy answers actually distracts from the hard work of expanding on the growing pockets of success in low-income communities—and on what we need to do now to increase the pace of change. America’s failure to educate millions of children to fulfill their potential is a crisis that strikes at our fundamental ideals and health as a nation. A Chance to Make History offers tangible evidence that we can change direction and provide all children the opportunity to attain an excellent education.
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About the author

Wendy Kopp is the founder and chairwoman of the board at  Teach For America, the co-founder and chief executive of Teach For All, and the author of One Day, All Children. She lives in New York City.

Steven Farr, Teach for America’s vice president for knowledge development and public engagement, is also the author of Teaching as Leadership.

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Additional Information

Publisher
PublicAffairs
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Published on
Jan 25, 2011
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9781586489267
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Organizations & Institutions
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Kennedy Odede
Find Me Unafraid tells the uncommon love story between two uncommon people whose collaboration sparked a successful movement to transform the lives of vulnerable girls and the urban poor. With a Foreword by Nicholas Kristof.

This is the story of two young people from completely different worlds: Kennedy Odede from Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, and Jessica Posner from Denver, Colorado.  Kennedy foraged for food, lived on the street, and taught himself to read with old newspapers. When an American volunteer gave him the work of Mandela, Garvey, and King, teenaged Kennedy decided he was going to change his life and his community. He bought a soccer ball and started a youth empowerment group he called Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO). Then in 2007, Wesleyan undergraduate Jessica Posner spent a semester abroad in Kenya working with SHOFCO. Breaking all convention, she decided to live in Kibera with Kennedy, and they fell in love.Their connection persisted, and Jessica helped Kennedy to escape political violence and fulfill his lifelong dream of an education, at Wesleyan University.

The alchemy of their remarkable union has drawn the support of community members and celebrities alike—The Clintons, Mia Farrow, and Nicholas Kristof are among their fans—and their work has changed the lives of many of Kibera’s most vulnerable population: its girls. Jess and Kennedy founded Kibera’s first tuition-free school for girls, a large, bright blue building, which stands as a bastion of hope in what once felt like a hopeless place. But Jessica and Kennedy are just getting started—they have expanded their model to connect essential services like health care, clean water, and economic empowerment programs. They’ve opened an identical project in Mathare, Kenya’s second largest slum, and intend to expand their remarkably successful program for change.

Ultimately this is a love story about a fight against poverty and hopelessness, the transformation made possible by a true love, and the power of young people to have a deep impact on the world. 

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