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From PBS NEWSHOUR: Why is Teach For America struggling to recruit?

GWEN IFILL: Next: the struggle to draw college graduates back to the classroom.

Teach for America has sent more than 33,000 participants into schools in low-income, high need communities since it launched in 1990.

But as Brandis Friedman of public television station WTTW Chicago reports, the organization is now having a harder time recruiting new candidates.

JUAQUAN SAVAGE, Teacher: Why do I do that?

STUDENT: Because it’s a negative charge.

JUAQUAN SAVAGE: Because it’s a negative charge.

BRANDIS FRIEDMAN, WTTW Chicago: Today’s chemistry lesson is on ionic bonds.

JUAQUAN SAVAGE: What does oppositely charged atoms mean?

BRANDIS FRIEDMAN: Teacher Juaquan Savage feels he’s charged with making a difference in his students’ lives. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate recently finished a two-year Teach for America fellowship in Memphis. He’s now one of 950 Teach for America alumni working in Chicago public schools.

This is Savage’s first year as a full-fledged teacher at this charter school, Butler College Prep. For years, the program has been a top choice for top grads.

JUAQUAN SAVAGE: I do consider myself a success story, because I had strong teachers. And it’s very thought-provoking just to think of, had I not had those strong teachers, where my life would’ve ended up. And so I definitely want to be a catalyst for making sure that all leaders — no matter where they’re from, no matter what their socioeconomic background is, any situation that they have come from, that they have opportunity to obtain a quality education as well.

BRANDIS FRIEDMAN: Savage and Teach for America fellows get five weeks of intensive summer training before taking over a classroom.

Read the rest of the transcript at PBS NEWSHOUR

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