Teach For America, MPS collaboration detailed at local press conference

An event announcing the agreement between Teach For America and Milwaukee Public Schools was held Friday at Westside Academy II, 1940 N. 36th St.

Representatives from Teach For America, Marquette and Cardinal Stritch University were present. While teaching at MPS, the Milwaukee Teach For America members will take courses at these colleges toward earning teacher's licenses or master's degrees.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett spoke about the importance of cultivating the talents of America's youth.

"What we have to invest in is the young people of this community and of this country," Barrett said.

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin) talked about the importance of educational funding.

"Education is the key to opening the golden door of freedom, but they never tell you that you have to oil the hinges with money and with sponsors," Moore said.

Teach For America has received $2.7 million in donations for its Milwaukee program thus far, said Garrett Bucks, executive director of Teach For America in Milwaukee, via e-mail. The Kern Family Foundation gave $1 million to the project, and MPS has given $450,000.

Other benefactors include the Walton Family Foundation, the Daniel M. Soref Foundation, the Faye McBeath Foundation and the M&I Foundation, Bucks said.

Marquette Provost John Pauly said public education plays an important role in society.

"Public education is tied to democracy and to our ability to create a just society," Pauly said.

Helen Sobehart, president of Cardinal Stritch, said a goal of Teach For America is to transform lives through values-based education.

"Every child can succeed," Sobehart said. "Every child deserves to succeed."

Kaleigh Ward contributed to this report.