Teach for America looks to expand into Minnesotaby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
A national teaching program that targets low-income school districts might come to Minnesota next year.
St. Paul, Minn. — Teach for America places recent college graduates in urban and rural districts for two years. The program has teachers in more than two dozen regions around the country, but has never been in Minnesota.
TFA president Matt Kramer, who lives in the Twin Cities, says the state's demographics have changed in recent years. He says Minnesota schools now have a larger academic achievement gap and more low-income students.
"Minnesota, more so than it used to, has real socioeconomic inequalities, and kids from low-income communities in Minnesota aren't getting the same opportunities that they would need to really have an equal chance in life," said Kramer.
If Teach for America can meet its $4.3 million fundraising goal, teachers will serve in the Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center school districts next year, along with some Twin Cities charter schools.
This year, more than 6,000 young adults have been placed in more than 29 regions across the country.
Kramer says Minnesota districts didn't meet criteria in the past.
"But over time, Minnesota has become a place that has quite significant achievement gap and kids in low-income communities in Minnesota - there are more of them than there used to be," Kramer added. "Now it makes a lot of sense for TFA to be in Minnesota."
In terms of geography, the closest that Teach for America has gotten to Minnesota is South Dakota, which has placed instructors since 2004 and has about 50 this year; and Chicago, which has participated since 2000 and has about 150 teachers this year.
Teach for America is also located in Atlanta, Baltimore, San Francisco Bay Area, Charlotte, Connecticut, Washington D.C. region, Denver, eastern North Carolina, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Hawai'i, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami-Dade, Mississippi Delta, New Mexico, New York City, Newark, Phoenix, Rio Grande Valley, South Louisiana, and St. Louis.