Our View: Teach for America a valuable asset for Alabama

Our View

In short: A Teach for America corps in the Black Belt will help improve education in Alabama. 

If you’re reading this, you probably have a teacher to thank. Not just because you can read, but also because you’ve probably got at least a high school education.

Thanks to a new program from Teach for America, some young Alabamians who may not have had a teacher push them to go to college might get just that chance.

Teach for America, which places college graduates from all backgrounds as teachers in low-income areas, is adding a new corps to the Black Belt of Alabama this fall. This program will help make sure that Alabama’s children get a better education.

TFA corps members sometimes outperform their more experienced counterparts. These teachers are recruited from the top college graduates every year. Admission to the program is highly competitive, with accepted applicants having an average college GPA of 3.6. These teachers have not specialized in education, but they have undergone TFA’s highly touted and intensive teacher training programs. They are graduates who did not go to college to become teachers and bring their own passion for their field of study.

It’s no secret that Alabama’s education system is struggling. The whole state is suffering from this weak education system, and that includes the economy. Alabama needs to produce highly skilled college graduates, and that starts with highly skilled teachers in primary and secondary schools. TFA corps members could provide Alabama with a much-needed spark.

Corps members are very motivated and come from the top of their classes. Though they typically only teach for two years, most stay in education afterwards. Having this steady supply of talented educators flowing into the Black Belt could improve education in that area and other areas of Alabama if these corps members stay. Before, Alabama students who participated in Teach for America left the state and took their talents with them. This way, Alabamians can stay where they may know and understand students better.

Teach for America’s expansion into Alabama has tremendous benefits for the state. UA students wishing to spend two years helping teach low-income students can do so without venturing too far from home. Students who may not be receiving the best education and may not be pushed too hard to attend college will have teachers who will push them to succeed. It cannot fix every problem this state’s education system faces, but it has the potential to affect the lives of at least a few students. That alone is worth it.

Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White’s editorial board.