As many of us turn our attention to the presidential race, it is important to remember that change doesn't have to begin with our government.
While our government can be a part of societal change, we can't rely on it to solve the injustices that exist in the United States. Both Barack Obama and John McCain agree on at least one thing: There is a huge educational inequity that exists in this country. Thirteen million children are growing up in poverty, and only 50 percent of them will graduate from high school by the time they are 18. Of those who do graduate, they will, on average, perform at an eighth-grade level. There is no debating this evidence. It needs to be solved by our next president.
But why should our generation - the future leaders of our nation - rely on the next president to fix this problem? We need to take action; we need to work to overcome it ourselves by spending just two years in our nation's lowest performing classrooms, spreading knowledge to students that need it most. Data shows that college graduates can have an immense impact on the lives of students who would never get the opportunity to have a quality education otherwise.
Teach For America is a national nonprofit movement that is working to solve the educational inequity that exists in our nation. Teach For America is looking for outstanding seniors of all academic majors to teach in our nation's low-income schools in more than 29 regions across the United States. The corps members (the teachers) receive a full teacher's salary with benefits and AmeriCorps educational awards, which offer loan forbearance and an educational grant of $9,450.
If you are thinking about professional school (medical, law, dental, graduate, etc.), Teach For America has partnerships with more than 100 graduate schools including the top 15 medical and law schools and the top 10 business schools. These partnerships provide priority applicant status, scholarships and 2-year deferment to Teach For America corps members.
We can't wait for the government to step in and do something for us.
Neither Obama nor McCain will be able to snap their fingers and extinguish the obstacles that children growing up in low-income communities face everyday. It is going to take dedication and hard work that starts with our generation. We will solve this problem. We will ensure that all students are given the opportunity to attain an excellent education, no matter what ZIP code they are born in.
The first of four application deadlines for Teach For America is Friday. Go to www.teachforamerica.com today and see how you can help. If you would like more information, please contact Sam Urkov at firstname.lastname@example.org. Something needs to be done to level the playing field of education in this country, and now is the time to do it.