Teach For America Gets An A

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst paid a visit to a north Houston high school. Dewhurst was a guest teacher in the Teach for America program, a program that takes recent college graduates of all majors and gives them a teaching job in struggling schools. Bill Stamps has more.
"As a class, let us welcome Lt. Governor Dewhurst."

For students in Craig Trajillos' 9th grade world history class, Thursday morning was anything but normal. The Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, who has the second most powerful job in Texas, was in the room...not to mention TV cameras, photographers and a bunch of other people in business suits they didn't know. The Lt. Governor was there to talk about his job as a politician.

"When we pay attention for instance like to Washington and all the arguing back and forth. That's not the way we do things in Texas. What we have to do is look at every problem and say we can solve it. And then go solve it."

The school is called Ninth Grade College Preparatory Academy. It used to be called Sam Houston High School before they split it into two schools due to unacceptable performance. That's also why it has a lot of teachers from the Teach for America Program. The teacher, Craig Trujillo, is one of them.

"I graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2005, went to law school for a year. After law school, I realized that wasn't my passion and I still had to find it."

So he applied for Teach of America, got accepted and was sent here. Principal Khalilah Campbel Rhone says things are improving at the school and the Teach for America instructors are making a difference.

"The Teach for America teachers have very diverse backgrounds and so they bring a plethora of diverse knowledge of difference experiences to the classrooms and the kids really enjoy that. On top of that, they receive additional training on Saturdays and after school which helps them really understand the type of students we're dealing with and how to get them to where they need to be."

The teachers get a nearly ten thousand dollar educational grant after finishing the two year program. Some say thanks and head towards other careers. And some like Trujillo get hooked and decide to stay.

"Yeah, I'll be here as long as they'll have me. I tell you, I wake up everyday. Coming here is a true blessing. The kids they give you energy everyday. Doesn't matter what's going on outside, when they come in your door everyday's a blessing. You know everyday is up and down…don't get me wrong, it's not just this beautiful thing everyday. There's struggles that we deal with and educational problems that we deal with, but I wouldn't change where I'm at for anything."