Each One Teach One
George Joseph’s article “Teach for America Goes Global” [July 18/25] takes Teach for India to task. In the past eight years, TFI has taken small steps for children in India, and there is a long way to go. In a country where 76 percent of our children don’t graduate from school; where 52 percent of the children in fifth grade can’t read a second-grade text; where our government says “it will not be an exaggeration to say that our education system is in disarray,” those of us doing this work often feel overwhelmed. While we try our best, each day we wake up knowing that there is both more to do and that we can do it better.
We are grateful to The Nation for giving us an opportunity to share what we are doing to further our vision of providing an excellent education to all children in India.
TFI is an independent, locally run and managed organization. We run a highly selective fellowship where candidates from diverse geographic, economic, and educational backgrounds teach full-time for two years in a government or low-income private school. Our fellows are placed in classrooms where there are existing teacher vacancies, and are given intensive training and support throughout the two years. We strive to give children a holistic education—one that integrates academics, values, self-awareness, and exposure to the world. According to the results of a recent four-year independent longitudinal study in partnership with Educational Initiatives and Columbia University, our students have improved four times as much in language and twice as much in math as a control group of students in the same schools not taught by TFI teachers.
After the fellowship, our growing corps of 1,500 alumni work across sectors—from education and the social sector to policy and the corporate sector—and across the country for children. Each year, over 60 percent of our alumni stay full-time in education, working as teachers, teacher trainers, school leaders, and other roles. Most of our alumni continue to work for education from wherever they are. They are taking steps to work together with many others across the country, within and beyond the government, to improve the state of education.
CEO, Teach for India