Rep. Fattah Addresses Teach For America On the Battle Against Educational Inequality

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MEDIA ADVISORY - Coverage is invited for Congressman Fattah's remarks, and for the Teach For America reception, TONIGHT at 6:30 p.m. in Rayburn House Office Building Room B-338. Teach For America contact is Meghan Curran 202-236-6445.

WASHINGTON, July 22 /-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), a leading Congressional advocate for Teach For America, delivers his message of combating educational inequality tonight at a Capitol Hill reception honoring its largest-ever incoming corps of math and science teachers.

The Philadelphia Congressman, who is hosting the event, will also be bringing good news about $15 million in federal funding contained in an appropriation bill under consideration by the House of Representatives later this week.

"The math-science achievement gap is one of the most profound in separating low-income students in urban and rural schools from their counterparts in wealthier school districts," Fattah said. "Teach For America is battling this inequity head-on by sending this year's large, dedicated class of young instructors into our most poverty-affected classrooms."

Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for at least two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. This fall, 7,300 Corps members - 2,000 specializing in math or science -- will be teaching in 35 regions, with a significant continued presence in Philadelphia.

"These dedicated young teachers are on the front lines every day battling the undisputed number one challenge of urban education - improving student achievement in our emphatically unequal system of public education," Fattah said.

The disparity in student achievement between rich and poor schools has its root in disparities of the quality and effectiveness of the teacher. "An effective teacher, qualified in his or her specialty, makes up for other deficiencies," Fattah said.

Teach For America's partner in the math-science teaching initiative is the Amgen Foundation, which made a $5 million funding pledge in 2006.

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Fattah has supported and helped to secure federal funding for Teach For America. The corps has received $54.75 million appropriated by the Congress since 2002, with additional funding for FY2010 proposed in the Labor-Health and Human Services appropriation.

"I am especially proud of my role in keeping the Teach For America program, its growth and its success stories, on the agenda of the Congress," Fattah said.

Fattah noted that Teach For America advances educational equity in two ways - by recruiting and placing recent college graduates in America's poorest urban and rural schools, and by creating a potent citizens' lobby group of 17,000 alumni, many of whom remain in education.

"The Teach For America experience informs these alumni in whatever field they enter," he said. "Even those who leave the classroom will never leave behind their love for public education and their advocacy for a level playing field."

Teach For America has more than doubled its presence in the Greater Philadelphia-Camden region since 2002. About 275 of the region's 303 recent corps members taught in School District of Philadelphia classrooms to low-income students this past term.

Teach For America's web site declares that educational inequity is the nation's greatest injustice and most pressing issue - themes that Fattah has advanced throughout his 27-year career in Congress and the Pennsylvania Legislature.

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