When Locke High School opened its doors in 1967, the residents of Watts celebrated it as a sign of the changes promised by Los Angeles. But four decades later, first-year Teach for America recruits Rachelle, Phillip, Hrag, and Taylor are greeted by a school that looks more like a prison, with bars, padlocks, and chains all over.
With little training and experience, these four will be asked to produce academic gains in students who are among the most disadvantaged in the country. Relentless Pursuit lays bare the experiences of these four teachers to evaluate the strengths and peculiarities of Teach for America and a social reality that has become inescapable.
In this richly detailed, sometimes hopeful, sometimes depressing account, Donna Foote, a California freelance journalist and former Newsweek correspondent, reveals what has happened to Kopp's brainchild. We learn why Teach For America has become so popular with top college graduates and why it has done so little to lift the apathy and mindlessness that infest urban schools…the most interesting account of inner-city high school life in many years and only whets my appetite for more.