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Donna Foote, In the Urban-Education Trenches

Apr 21, 2008 (Fresh Air from WHYY)

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Starting in the fall of 2005, former Newsweek correspondent Donna Foote spent the academic year at Los Angeles' Locke High School, following four fresh-out-of-college recruits in the Teach for America program.

An 18-year-old initiative that dispatches some of the nation's best and brightest on two-year teaching assignments in struggling urban schools, Teach for America has become both a subject of contention — with critics arguing that its corps of neophyte teachers come unprepared and contribute to teacher turnover — and the focus of intense competition, with nearly 20,000 graduates from America's top colleges applying each year for 2,000 posts in the nation's neediest schools.

In Relentless Pursuit: A Year in the Trenches With Teach for America, Foote documents the experiences of that TFA foursome, asking in the process what works and what's flawed about a program that even skeptics acknowledge is the most ambitious of its kind.

Fresh Air's book critic has a review.

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