Is Teach for America’s Wendy Kopp Biggest Social Entrepreneur from Campus?

Just watched an interesting Charlie Rose interview with Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America. She came up with idea for a teaching corps while completing her undergraduate thesis at Princeton University. Her thesis, ‘An Argument and Plan for the Creation of the Teacher Corps,’ was written in the late 1980s. Read more about her from Princeton,

“Determined to create the “teacher corps,” Kopp sent a proposal in October 1989 requesting help from potential funders: ‘I graduated from Princeton this past June and have been working to put my senior thesis into action ever since. I proposed the creation of an organization that would use the Peace Corps model — active recruitment on a national scale, a selective application process, lots of publicity, a short initial time commitment, and a centralized application, training and placement mechanism — to attract top recent graduates into teaching in the United States. With the help of a number of business and education leaders, I have created the organization as a privately funded nonprofit called TEACH AMERICA Inc. I am writing to request your help.'”

When Kopp was starting there were no social entrepreneurship and social innovation class, funds, or public debate. Regardless of today’s growing infrastructure, you still need to do exactly what Kopp did — believe in and share your vision of the future and don’t be bashful about asking for help.

Princeton – Weekly Bulletin 5/21/01 – Thesis sparks thriving teacher corps.


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