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One Day, All Children...: The Unlikely Triumph Of Teach For America And What I Learned Along The Way

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  616 ratings  ·  66 reviews
From her dorm room at Princeton University, twenty-one-year-old college senior Wendy Kopp decided to launch a movement to improve public education in America. In One Day, All Children... , she shares the remarkable story of Teach For America, a non-profit organization that sends outstanding college graduates to teach for two years in the most under-resourced urban and rura ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 3rd 2003 by PublicAffairs (first published 2001)
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3.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  616 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: education
It isn’t clear to me who might find this book interesting. The author set up Teach for America – an incredibly successful teacher recruitment organisation that has been fated by politicians from all sides of politics in the US and across continents. Now, that ought to have made a terribly interesting story – but this is as dull as dishwater. At least two-thirds of the book relates to how and when she received various donations to keep the organisation going. There was zero interest in this at al ...more
Judy Cox
Sep 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
This book is a case study on how you can put your ideas into action and give back to the community/world. The author is a remarkable young woman who put her all into building a nonprofit organization that recruited some of the best and brightest college graduates to become teachers and work in schools in the most underprivileged and underserved communities of America.

It's packed with details of her extraordinary fundraising efforts, her incredible courage and determination and how Teach for Amer
Christie Bane
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
This was the just-okay story of how Wendy Kopp founded Teach for America. Wendy Kopp was about to graduated from Princeton when she found her vision. She wanted to create a service corp that would help to ensure that one day all American children, regardless of where they were born or how much money their families had, would have access to excellent education.

The story of Teach for America doesn't have a lot of surprises. Things were tough in the beginning. They grew too quickly. They implemente
Aug 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
I fully confess that I disparaged Teach for America in the past. Although I certainly admired their goal, I always had this sneaking feeling that the two year commitment was a drop in the bucket – a token gesture with little long-lasting impact on a very real social problem. But once I read by book Wendy Kopp, who in her senior year at Princeton defied the stereotype of the Ivy League grad, I realized just how wrong I was.

Kopp did the unthinkable as a graduating senior at Princeton in the late 8
Stephanie Hunt
May 02, 2011 rated it liked it
As a potential applicant to Teach for America - I thought I should read up on the beginnings of this historic movement. I gave it 3 stars because my immediate response after reading the whole book was, "where did I did I put Kopp's other book?" I wanted more. I wanted more stories of teachers and their classrooms, I wanted more stories of students and their failures and successes.

Kopp's story is unique and inspiring. I enjoyed the play-by-play: how her senior thesis was formed, how after turning
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I came to this book after reading "Work Hard Be Nice" by Jay Mathews and "There are no Shortcuts" by Rafe Esquith. Through providing a thorough history of the Teach for America movement - describing its ups and downs - and evolution from a dream to a senior thesis, to a reality, Kopp not only inspires readers to take action to tackle the problem of education that exists in our country (and worldwide for that matter) but also provides one with a sense that any perceived problem, no matter HOW lar ...more
Apr 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-books
I'm glad that I put off reading this book until now, but I'm also glad that I read it. As someone who began teaching as part of Teach for America and kept teaching for eight years, I deeply indebted to Wendy's idea because it was the jumping off point for so many wonderful opportunities. If I'd read it sooner, I think I would have felt variously disheartened, pissed off, and grudgingly impressed. Now, knowing that I'm moving into a different sector, I can see that much of what has frustrated me ...more
Sheila Callahan
Mar 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
In my heart, more than anything, I want to teach in an underserved school. I have always been totally inspired by teachers who are able to raise the level of opportunity for their students. One Day, All Children, Wendy Kopp's memoir of founding Teach for America, is filled with the stumbling blocks that the organization encountered. Her book at times is pumped up with suspense. For example, two days before 1000 incoming Teach for America candidates are about to convene for their training, the or ...more
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Teach for America!! - Never heard of it until I came across a job opportunity. Ended up going through the website and buying a book written by Wendy Kopp. She explained about what it took to take from nothing to something of Teach for America, the hassles, lessons learned and impact overall on the society. I have seen people walking around with pride who worked for Teach for America.

The mission statement -"One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent edu
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
Not nearly as good as I had hoped. :( I was hoping to hear stories of the teachers and the kids... you know, to get all fired up for this school year! Instead, it was all about the money side of it and how fundraising was such an issue for Teach for America. When she FINALLY got around to describing the schools, she pretty much made the point that the successful teachers were the ones who gave every moment of every day to their class (staying late at night, coming early, extending the school day ...more
Dec 30, 2008 rated it liked it
I enjoyed learning about how Teach for America was started and everything that happened "behind the scenes" and the challenges they had to overcome. I think one of the best parts of the book is towards the end, however, when the author discusses some of the attitudes and attributes of Teach for America's most successful teachers. The latter part of the book also discusses what the author (the founder of Teach for America) learned about leading and managing a successful organization. I appreciate ...more
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book is what made me realize that Teach for America was not for me, so I pulled out of the application program. I applied to a different alternative certification program, and I'm glad I went that route instead of TFA. This was not a book about what it's like to go through the TFA program, but instead a book about the politics, economics, and mission driving TFA. For the eye opener, it might deserve 5 stars.

Relentless Pursuit: A Year in the Trenches with Teach for America by Donna Foote gi
May 27, 2008 rated it liked it
I was given this book because I was recently hired by Teach for America as a Campus Campaign Coordinator. Since I knew I would be working for the organization adn recruiting others to apply, I found this book very interesting. However, I don't know how interesting someone who wasn't interested in Teach for America would find this book. It is an inpsiring story about this young woman who started out with a big idea and a thesis papers started what is now a major organization. It would probalby be ...more
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book about education policy or the controversy that has followed TFA in good ways and bad. This is a book about a scrappy start up that was denied many times, failed a few times more, and figured out a way to bring into existence a massive national organization that is highly influential in any conversation about education. If you have an interest in social good startups or pursuing your vision and how hard it can be even when you have the "right" people and passion, this is a must ...more
Jul 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: college grads
Shelves: read-non-fiction
Although the prose gets a little dry in several areas, Wendy Kopp is a social entrepreneur, not a Salon editor. It shows, but it's still a great testament to how she started Teach for America, and the struggles she went through to prevent it from going under. The end result is very inspiring, and may motivate recent college grads to apply to the program to dedicate two years of their lives to teaching underprivileged children.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fascinating. Enjoyed but sometimes cringed at this brutally honest account of starting Teach for America. Interesting to hear how her thought process changed over time and to gain real insight on how Kopp was able to get response (meaning, $$$) from world players in the early 90's. Driven solely by a vision - I don't know whether I'd have had the courage to follow through with such intensity, but then again, she had rallied hundreds, growing to thousands.

I loved the book.
May 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
I came to this book via the powerful and informative book "Work Hard, Be Nice," which is the story of how two Teach For America teachers started their own schools and, eventually, an entire movement. This book is not as inspiring or informative, but it was a quick read and an interesting insight into the management challenges of being a "social entrepreneur," as well as giving a glimpse into what is wrong with education today and why so few change the world.
May 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
I teach this and come back to it often. The story of how one college student created an organization to improve inner city educational performance by putting bright young college students into the worst schools to teach for 2 years. I have so many friends who have been TFA teachers, and I know Wendy well. Her story is very inspirational and really defines what it means to be a social entrepreneur.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
the only reason i can think for someone to read this is if they want to know how to get into teach for america. i guess it's an interesting case study of the creation of a successful non-profit (depending on how you define successful, lol). but basically it is a platform for wendy kopp to insist at how hard she worked to make TFA what it is and to distract from the fact that SHE HAS NEVER BEEN IN THE CLASSROOM. not that i have a resentment or anything
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On a bit of an "all things Teach For America" kick at my house. This is the quintessential book on how to conceive a dream, craft a plan to fulfill a dream, and then drive your dream to the top. Sometimes it got a little too "needed money, found money, needed more, found more", but I was fascinated by it nevertheless. If you are like I was a few months ago and had just heard of Teach For America in passing, you owe it to yourself to get educated on it!! Do yourself a favor.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Would rate it 3.5. More of a biography, and a (quite honest) account of the beginnings of the organization. Will be interesting for people specifically looking to understand that, or for people researching education and education reform. If ur not, I'd say skip (It does have some good thoughts, moments and lessons learnt, especially towards the end..but there's probably other and better places to get those insights..)
Apr 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: persons interested in issues of educational equity
Shelves: memoir
Being a TFA Corps member I thought this would be a good book to read to get a glimpse into the Teach for America world. While the book is intersting, I don't really recommend it for light reading. It's the history of how Teach for America got started, and while fascinating to me, might not interest everyone. However, if you are into issues of educational equity then by all means, pick up a copy!
Oct 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A quick, inspiring read about a driven woman's learning curve and dedication to one of the most impressive start-up service organizations in the nation. Shout out to Steve Schatz' accomplishment in Compton within the book as well ; )

If public school edcucation (teaching) as a civil rights issue moves you, read this.
Aug 11, 2008 rated it liked it
I really took a lot from reading this book about all the challenges, peaks and valleys of building a sustainable nonprofit. It was comforting to learn that the struggles my own organization has been dealing with aren't unique, and that you can come out of it as a stronger, better organization. (3/7/08)
Adam Rice
Worth reading to get a perspective on Teach For America from the founder herself. However, it was an incredibly insightful or groundbreaking book. More a reflection than anything else, this book lacked the keen writing of similar books written by polished journalists (i.e. Work Hard, Be Nice by Jay Matthews or Whatever it Takes by Paul Tough).
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership, education
Before reading this book, I was not a big fan of Teach for America. While I still have some reservations and believe that the best solution would be to make pursuing teaching accreditation in university highly attractive to America's youth, I now have greater buy-in for the TFA model as a stepping stone towards improving the US education system.
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Are you thinking of starting a development project, a non-profit, or just want to be inspired by what is possible? Than read this book. Wendy Kopp's story of starting Teach for America is a great narrative how-to that will have you shaking your head at how lucky she was at times but still realize the tremendous amount of work and talent that her and her collogues had.
Sep 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
I respect Kopp and her quest, but this book was terrible. Nothing more than a string of "We didn't have any money when we started...then someone donated some! Then we ran low again...then we got another donation! Here is a list of names of people that helped me:...."
Dull dull dull.
Aug 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very impressive story of starting Teach for America. The author's persistence translates on many levels, although I know I was particularly excited about all of the great ed. reform heroes featured towards the end of the book.
May 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Written by the woman who started the Teach for America program. Since I know several people currently doing TFA it helped me understand how it came into being. Not real well written but goes very quickly.
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