Teach for America DFW Closing Education Gap in Minority Communities

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Teach for America is a nonprofit that identifies top leaders across the country and places them in some of the most underserved, low-income schools.

NBC 5 Today anchor Laura Harris spoke with a former Teach for America teacher, a current Teach for America teacher and a former student about how they are working to close the education gap in DFW.

“The obvious opportunity that is lacking right now is access to technology. Especially in times of COVID-19 and online learning. We see a lot of students who don’t have access to technology or don’t have WIFI where they are,” said Vanessa Somchith, Teach for American DFW teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas.

Teach for America teachers understand that potential is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. Somchith stressed the fight for each child to have better opportunities.

Litzy Gonzalez was one of those students before graduating in DFW.

“For me, I had three teachers that I know were part of the TFA program. These three teachers did for me something I really appreciated. They taught me how to advocate for myself. I’m apart of a low-income community and for me, high school was it. I didn’t think I was going to be able to go to college because of the lack of resources I had,” Gonzalez said. “They taught me that there was more out there like internships and how to apply for scholarships. I honestly don’t know where I would be without them.

The national nonprofit has done that for so many.

“There are thousands of stories like this across the country which just makes me feel hope,” said Lacey Pittman Tomanek, Vice President of Alumni Programs and TFA alumni. “We can really solve this problem of educations inequity. I think historical and quite frankly present-day systemic racism and classism are there. There are so many forms of oppression that have disenfranchised entire communities and they are getting less resources. Resources in terms of dollars, staffing and even school buildings.”

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