I'm a long user of 7th Gen products & wholeheartedly support your mission. However as a life long educator, I am seriously concerned about your partnering with Teach for America--a program that diversely & inadequately prepares recent graduates in other fields as teachers, over people who have chosen to work in the field & who have taken two years or more of targeted teacher-training, rather than 5 weeks each of 2 summers + some additional hours throughout the school year, which is the current TfA program. This is not a recipe for success or longevity in the field.
It creates a cadre that dips into education field particularly in economic downturns when there are fewer jobs, then leaves the profession after 2 years. Three out of 3 Teach for America "teachers" in our school left the profession after their 2 year stint. It's a great resume builder. But it underserves most of our students. It was initially to supply teachers to under-served areas difficult to adequately staff. Now it is moving in to all areas that are well-supplied with professionally prepared teachers. A small percentage go on to do a master's degree in the education field.
I really would like you to instead support scholarships for National Board Certification. These are teachers that, out of their own pocket as usual, pay for advanced certification as they do with any advanced degrees & professional development. Apple & 7th Generation should be supporting those teachers rather than a dubious program that almost guarantees a very high turnover in a under-prepared cohort.
Students need to see teachers committed to them in the long term. It's a fallacy that a recent grad in any field is a shoe-in for the teaching profession. Teaching & education need more sustained support than this. Where Teach for America can be helpful is to bring young graduates of color into the education field where they are under-represented (because of teacher salaries, mainly.) But 3 out of 3 of the recent TfA recruits I know personally of are Caucasian.
In 2010, teachers spent 1.3 billion dollars out of their own pockets to support their classrooms--this in a field that is under-salaried. That is down about .6 billion from the more flush 2006. And they donate their uncompensated time every week--usually <20 hours extra off the clock! So it's not for the faint of heart, nor those intending to give it a 2-year try & then go on to greener pastures.
Nor is it clear that all TfA programs use the same methodology & curriculum to train their recruits. So to do any research on what is working best & for whom is difficult to quantify or qualify. Our students deserve better.
While I'm sure your intentions are good, a short-term revolving door fix can often be more detrimental to students than a long-term support of funding our public education system more adequately. We are seeing a lot of businesses crop up to get into the "education market" that are not qualified to really address education issues & who are in it as a new market in a recessed economy, rather than for the full-on support that every school & school district needs.
It's so important to have committed professionals that are in education for the right reasons & the long haul. I would hope that industry will start scholarships for National Board Certification over programs that have proven less efficacious. A good preparation program yields professionals that stay in the field for the long haul. TfA has not proven to be such. Please support teachers through lobbying for more adequate funding for all public schools & scholarships for teachers dedicated to the field.