We have a massive problem in this country that sadly, I think we’ve really become very immune to… this is a country that says that it is a land of opportunity and yet,  the data shows that of all the advanced countries of the world, this is the country where your background is most predictive of your educational outcomes and, in turn of course, life outcomes.

Wendy Kopp

 

In 1989, Wendy Kopp was focused on her college thesis paper. While at Princeton, she became roommates with a girl from the Bronx, and watched as that girl and her friends who were first generation college students struggled to maintain good grades. Meanwhile, she listened to the girls who came from east coast prep schools in the dorm next door brag about how easy it was for them to excel at Princeton. For Kopp, who knew that her friend from the Bronx was extremely bright, passionate, and hard working, this status quo was extremely troublesome.

 

While other students may not have seen their college thesis as a means of creating real change in the world, Kopp did. She used her thesis assignment as an opportunity to create a plan for what would become Teach For America, an organization that created a teachers corps to address the issue of public education inequity in low-income communities. She implemented her goal immediately; graduating in 1989, Kopp had 500 recent college graduates signed up and committed to teaching by 1990. Since its inception, Teach for America has produced over 30,000 teachers that have reached for than three million children in low income communities across the United States.

 

Kopp has dedicated nearly 25 years to improving education in our country and abroad, and she continues to do so. Kopp is now the Chair of the Board at Teach For America and the CEO of Teach For All, another non-profit that she co-founded with UK’s Teach First CEO Brett Wigdortz in 2007 to apply the principles of both organizations on a global level, with a stated mission, “to expand educational opportunity around the world by increasing and accelerating the impact of social enterprises that are cultivating the leadership necessary for change.”

 

Kopp has received honorary doctorates from 13 schools, including Harvard, Princeton and Boston. She has written numerous books on improving the educational system and the rewards of giving oneself to a meaningful cause. She is a woman who saw a flaw in our system and dedicated her life to fixing it, in the United States and then across the world. She is a woman who has passionately thrown herself into leveling the playing field and has truly made our world a better place.

 

To learn more about Kopp and opportunities to help in her mission, visit:

The Teach For America Website

The Teach For All Website

Kopp’s First and Second Books

 

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet me @dannystevens91 with your thoughts!