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Passion Quote of the Day

Wendy Kopp

Founder, Teach for America

Everyone was talking about all of the challenges that exist in our -- particularly urban and rural -- public schools, and particularly about the need for excellent teachers in these schools. And here we had all of these carefully selected student leaders from all over the country, who were all saying, "We would teach. No one's recruiting us to teach." We were known as the "Me Generation." Supposedly all we wanted to do was go work in those firms, go work on Wall Street and such, make a lot of money. And I just knew -- I knew from my own searching, but also from my friends and others -- I just knew I was one of thousands of people who were really searching for something we weren't finding. So that led to this idea: why aren't we being recruited as aggressively to commit two years to teach in our urban and rural public schools as we were being recruited at the time to commit two years to work on Wall Street? And the minute I thought of it, I just became obsessed. I just knew this has to happen. I thought it would have such a huge power for kids growing up today, just to channel all this talent and energy -- that's good enough for the firms on Wall Street -- but into our highest-need schools. And at the same time, I thought it would have this kind of larger power. That we would be influencing the priorities and the consciousness of all these future leaders. And I had this idea that this was going to change the consciousness of the country, and generate a belief that we need to do something to bridge the disparities that exist in our country.
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