Archive for the ‘Rep. Earl Sears’ Category

‘Teach for America’ may be Coming to Oklahoma

February 26, 2008

Teach for America (TFA) is an organization which, according to its website, seeks to rectify, “Our nation’s greatest injustice.” What is that injustice?

In America today, educational inequity persists along socioeconomic and racial lines…These disparities severely limit the life prospects of the 13 million children growing up in poverty today. And, because African-American and Latino/Hispanic children are three times as likely to grow up in a low-income area…

In a section of the website entitled, “Why we prioritize the recruitment and development of African-Americans and Latino/Hispanics and people of low-income family backgrounds,” TFA explains:

At the same time that we value each individual who commits to our cause, we also place a particular focus on attracting and fostering the leadership of individuals who share the racial and/or socioeconomic backgrounds of the students underserved by public schools, many of whom are African-American and Latino/Hispanic children living in low-income communities. We emphasize racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity to enhance our impact…

According to a press release from the OK House of Representatives yesterday, House Bill 3124, authored by House Education Committee Chairman Rep. Tad Jones, allows for the Teach for America Program to come to Oklahoma.

The bill will get talented teachers into our most needy classrooms, said Jones (R-Claremore):

Right now, this successful program cannot expand to Oklahoma because of barriers in our laws. Teach for America has proven results in low-income, underperforming schools where we need talented teachers the most. Even with approval of this bill, each district would be able to choose to participate or not. This is a chance to get some of the best, brightest and most ambitious teachers in the country here in Oklahoma.

Rep. Earl Sears (R-Bartlesville), a former teacher and principal, praised the Teach for America program as one of the best in the country for training teachers:

There is no question this state does a great job training our teachers, and no one is trying to take anything away from the procedure we have here in the state for our teachers, but as a principal, I would not have any hesitation in hiring a teacher from this program.

The bill passed the House with a vote of 91-10 and will now go to the Senate