Whenever we've seen the kids in the most disadvantaged context truly excel, always it's been in classrooms and in whole schools where there is a clear vision of where the kids have the potential to be.
As a senior at Princeton, I felt like the whole world was open to me. In our country, that's not a given. We aspire to be a place of equal opportunity, and yet where you're born determines your prospects.
You will find it will almost always be more comfortable to sit on the sidelines and critique the builders from afar. But at the end of the day, the people who make a difference, the people who shape history, are not the haters.
Common Core results finally give families an accurate barometer of whether our kids are mastering the skills they need to succeed in a knowledge-based global economy, early enough that we can intervene.
In the long run, we need to build a leadership force of people. We have a whole strategy around not only providing folks with the foundational experience during their two years with us, but also then accelerating their leadership in ways that is strategic for the broader education reform movement.
We look for people who demonstrate perseverance in the face of challenges, the ability to influence and motivate others - people who want to work relentlessly to ensure that kids who are facing the challenges of poverty have an excellent education.
All over the world, children facing the challenges of poverty attend schools that aren't designed to meet their extra needs; across country lines, the lives of marginalized kids look far more similar than they do different.
We have found that the most successful teachers in low-income communities operate like successful leaders. They establish a vision of where their students will be performing at the end of the year that many believe to be unrealistic.
As a white woman with a privileged education, I'm keenly aware that I founded an organization that can only realize its goal if it enlists many more leaders who share the backgrounds of the students and families we work with.
We're looking for people out there who have demonstrated that they are leaders, have track records of achievement, and want to be part of a force... of a much larger force of determined people who want to bring about, ultimately, institutional change.
The U.S. has a long history of walking up to the precipice of rigor and then walking away. As voters, let's support leaders who were courageous enough to make the hard decisions necessary to move our system forward. And as parents, let's put our faith in our educators, our children and tests that hold them to their highest potential.
Research confirms that great teachers change lives. Students with one highly effective elementary school teacher are more likely to go to college, less likely to become pregnant as teens, and earn tens of thousands more over their lifetimes.
We are working essentially to build a leadership force of folks who will, during their first two years of teaching, actually put their kids on a different trajectory - not just survive as a new teacher, but actually help close the achievement gap for their kids.
When you think of the typical Teach For America corps member, soldiers and ex-bankers are probably not the people who come to mind. In fact, there is no such thing as a typical corps member. They can't be neatly pigeonholed or painted with a broad brush.
I had been very focused on the issue of education disparities in our country, and literally, by the time kids are just nine years old, in low-income communities, they're already three or four grade levels behind nine-year-olds in high-income communities.
Education is the gateway to the American Dream. But today our immigration laws make higher education - a virtual requirement for financial security - out of reach for more than one million undocumented students.
Research shows that whether you are low-income or not, mindset is a bigger predictor of success than academic skills, and how students gain great academic skills and persevere in the face of challenges.
Charter laws do something really important. They give educators the freedom and flexibility that they need to attain results. But we also have to invest a lot in the leadership pipeline to take advantage of that freedom and flexibility.