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IMPULSA - Fòrum Fundació Príncep de Girona
IMPULSA - Fòrum Fundació Príncep de Girona

''The world needs you, the young people, before gaining much experience. The talent, passion and determination is what matters most.''



22/06/2011

Some 22 years ago, as a university student, I was concerned about how in the United States, which aspires to be a society with opportunities for all, the environment in which one was born determined one’s educational prospects.

15 million children, living in poverty, do not have access to the university. In the upper economic bracket, in contrast, 80% of the students have the possibility of graduating.

My generation was considered to be the Me-generation, but we didn’t believe this label corresponded to our restlessness. We were far from working for investment banks or as Wall Street consultants and making a lot of money.

My desire, with the naiveté of a young university student, was that everyone could have access to education. Inspired by the Peace Corps, created by Kennedy, and starting with five people, we launched a project to train 500 professors from the major university campuses in the country, spreading a message of transformative change. This was the beginning of Teach for America.

The goal was to change the definition of teaching. Many of our teachers, over the years, have proved that children from impoverished backgrounds can also succeed, and they can also be given an education that allows them to change their lives. We only need to change the way schools are set up.

In Washington, Teach For America collaborated in a project promoted by the mayor to improve the poor results of the students. Many things in the system hadn’t been changed simply because it was never thought possible to change them. For example, a new contract was established to eliminate the functionary teaching staff and set up a merit system based on the results of the students.

Now we are working all over the world, with social entrepreneurs who have decided to channel their energy toward achieving a transformative educational system. In Spain, Teach for All is collaborating with Javier Roble in the interesting project “Start by educating”.

This has been in the last twenty years. When I think about the next twenty years, I think about the unstoppable movements that allow access to a good education for everyone.

1. For those of you who are thinking about how to guarantee educational opportunities for all students, we must believe that this is a problem that can be solved. Entire communities can achieve impressive changes. The transformative change for children will depend on an important leader, the teacher, who is committed, together with parents, to help children achieve their educational goals.

2. The world needs you, the young people, before gaining much experience. The talent, passion and determination of young people is what matters most. I encourage you to channel your energy toward solving the problems of the world. They are difficult problems that will take time, so I hope you will start soon. 

 

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