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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Jul 28 2013

To Fight Poverty and Beyond

Last week, I finally returned to blogging after half of year of internet slumber. To be truthful, I haven’t lost track of the arguments on all sides, I simply choose to take a step back from the daily vitriol. Nonetheless, I’m a bit disheartened by the increasingly narrow focus on the interests of adults- either…

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Due in part to the maddening flurry of education reform related articles in the past two month, I had essentially sworn off blogging. While in the groove of seeing real change happening on the ground every day in my work with City Year, I felt increasingly removed from the debate between older folk being played…

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This summer, I was happy to blog about my experience at the MS Department of Education to share my source of hope for the state as I packed up to move back to Massachusetts. Since then, I haven’t really heard much good news: there’s been firings, and scandals, tornados, etc. Fortunately, my friends and former…

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Two Weeks! Too Weak!! Wow, I haven’t blogged in two weeks!! Crazy! One of the reasons for this is that I’ve been enjoying my new job, which at some point I’ll blog more about. The other reason for my infrequent blogging is that there’s far too much going on in the country, not just in…

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Aug 08 2012

Money Trail: How Poverty Limits Opportunity

Certain segments of the population are fond of citing irresponsibility and poor choices as the primary driver behind the lack of opportunity for poor households. A few months ago, one article began claiming that people didn’t need welfare because they had microwaves and TVs! Often, the general public takes such claims at face value because…

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May 20 2012

My Biggest Lessons from TFA

In the process of completing my end-of-the-year survey for Teach for America, I came across the following question and wanted to share my answer: “What are the two or three biggest lessons you’re taking away from your corps experience? These could be lessons about your students, yourself, the community where you work, the achievement gap…

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May 07 2012

The Wrong Race

It makes me so sick. To think no matter how quick. This race, we won’t win.   In my rest and relaxation following one of the last Monday’s of the school year, I sought to read some uplifting local news. I saw on Twitter a link to a track meet in Mississippi. As a former…

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We all fail when we focus on blaming teachers on the one hand and blaming poor students and their families on the other. As reformers, “Rheeformers,” anti-reformers, unionists, etc continue to fight amongst ourselves, we neglect to answer one important question: who are we letting off the hook? The Law of the Excluded Middle states:…

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Mar 25 2012

I’m Tired Of Playing (Hunger) Games

Back in the summer before 7th Grade, I had just finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book #4) when the first movie was set to come out. Personally, I was irritated because I had been made fun of for reading the series but by the time the movies came out, all of…

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It’s officially that time of year when flowers are starting to bloom and state test review is kicking into high gear. Coming off of Spring Break, I learned a lot about the players in the education reform debate as I travelled to New Orleans, Houston and San Antonio. I would love to expand upon the…

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Feb 26 2012

Don’t Hate Me ‘Cause I’m TFA

Sometimes, I get tired of feeling like a TFApologist. I get tired of being called an elitist money-grubber who’s trying to pay off my student loans off the backs of poor children- c’mon now. At the same time, there are many teachers who may not fit my demographic but who are doing great things in…

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Feb 22 2012

A Double-Edged Sword

It’s nice to be reminded that I’m a competent individual; especially in light of the many challenges a teacher faces in a rural, low-income area. At the same time, I wish there wasn’t an inverse relationship between praise for the teacher and kudos for the kids. According to conventional wisdom (in some crowds) charter schools…

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Feb 19 2012

“Students First” or First, Students?

“Mr. Britt, why’d you go to Harvard only to come deal with these disrespectful kids? You don’t get paid enough to deal with this, right?” – 14 year old female student Recently, I read an article in the Washington Post and it killed me! Reform leaders and public officials are STILL caught up in debates…

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Feb 12 2012

Unequal Opportunities

I’ve been keeping really busy lately, but I need to get back in the habit of posting more. I guess I’m going to have to put the Jeremy Lin highlights away for a little bit. I watched the video below a few days ago and was reminded of why I came to the Delta in…

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Feb 01 2012

Hold Hands Not Grudges?

“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”  ~Author Unknown This post will be short- almost as short as my temper was when I discovered that my new phone had been “lost” by my local FedEx two weeks ago. Basically, I was finishing up a great week shortened due to the…

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Nov 30 2011

Sick and Tired Of Being…

Poverty has and is presently beaten down the students we seek to serve. I worry that as my coworkers and I fight against and compensate for this unjust force, it will continue to oppress our kids and wear away at the adults as well. May we find the motivation and strength from within to keep on working against our unjust system

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Nov 06 2011

Of Neutrinos and Opportunities

Thanks to the Opportunity Nation campaign, which brought together leading organizations and individuals across sectors to collaborate in the fight for a better America, I had an amazing time at the summit; from engaging with ambitious ideas to combat income inequality and networking with like-minded scholars over delicious soul food, to catching up with former colleagues from ServiceNation, and even having the opportunity to meet Wendy Kopp, the Founder and CEO of Teach For America. However, I’m left wondering what hope is there for the Mississippi Delta?

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If you are not fighting for my students, then you are fighting against my students, which means you are fighting against me; I don’t lose fights. You see, these kids may make the team but if nothing changes, most won’t make the cut- and I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout no ball game…

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Sep 18 2011

No Such Thing As a Free Lunch?

In schools with nearly 100% of its students (typically high-minority) participating in the free lunch program, it would make sense to simply have all students receive free lunch rather than having a handful who pay. Under the current system, a weird paradox is created where kids may feel penalized for having a parent with a steady source of income.

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Remove Barriers, Raise the Bar

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