Teacher Corps was a program established by the United States Congress in the Higher Education Act of 1965 to improve elementary and secondary teaching in predominantly low-income areas. Individual Teacher Corps projects were developed by "institutions of higher education" (colleges or universities with a teacher-training program) in partnership with local school districts. Teams of interns under the supervision of master teachers worked in the district's schools to help carry out project goals.
Originally one of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs, Teacher Corps, along with more than 40 other programs related to education, was replaced by block grants under the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981.
A 1974 study examining 20 Teacher Corps projects that began in 1971 found that half involved elementary school children, half secondary school children. While many projects involved inner-city schools, others involved children in rural areas like the Flint Hills of Kansas or Indian reservations.
Before its demise, the Corps enlisted local colleges, public schools and poverty organizations to provide training to future teachers to train them in the cultural and social traits of low income, socially disadvantaged persons to enable them to more effectively teach in the inner city elementary schools.
The interns and their team leaders participated in and developed community involvement activities in the various neighborhoods where their schools were located. They taught full time, worked on a master's degree full time, and did community service work to provide enrichment for the children they taught and to enhance the communities they lived in. They modified their curriculum to eliminate deficits and adjustment problems to school caused by social and educational deprivation. The interns and their team leaders created community outreach programs to get the community involved and to bring more community resources into the schools.
The idea of a teachers corps was reestablished as the non-profit organization Teach for America, which receives federal support as an AmeriCorps program. Reestablishing a National Teachers Corps has been suggested by the Democratic Leadership Council. In his 2006 State of the Union address George W. Bush proposed an effort to train more K-12 math and science teachers as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative.
- Public Law 89-329, Section 511
- Stein, Sandra J, The Culture of Education Policy, (Teachers College Press, New York, New York, 2004) p. 71
- A Study of Teacher Training at Sixth Cycle Teacher Corps Projects , page 54.
- Using an Indian Community in Social Studies Education
- DLC: Idea of the Week: A National Teachers Corps (July 12, 1999)
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