Teach for America program coming to Ohio this fall

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Teach for America, the service-oriented program that places recent college graduates in low-income public schools, will expand into Ohio this fall, organization and state officials said Wednesday.

The nonprofit recruits recent college graduates and professionals to teach for two or more years in some of the country's highest-need public schools.

The organization plans to have at least 40 teachers in schools in northeast Ohio this fall, along with 30 in schools in the southwestern part of the state. Officials also hope to add 70 more Ohio instructors in 2013 and again in 2014.

For the coming school year, Teach For America is partnering with Cincinnati Public Schools, Covington Public Schools in northern Kentucky, and public charter schools across northeast and southwest Ohio. Its members also can enroll in graduate-level coursework for additional professional development at the University of Cincinnati and Cleveland State University.

Gov. John Kasich vowed in his first State of the State address last year to bring the program to Ohio. He later signed a bill opening the door for it. The organization said the state also awarded it funds from its federal Race to the Top dollars to support the program's launch in Ohio.

Kasich, a first-term Republican, praised communities for working with Teach For America to help recruit new educators.

"I'm confident that the long-term leadership and dedication of these teachers will have positive impacts in schools across our state," Kasich said in a Wednesday statement.

Supporters of Teach for America say the organization provides an important pipeline of new teachers. Critics cite the teachers' high turnover rate, limited training and inexperience.

More than 48,000 people have applied to the Teach for America program for this year, and applicants include nearly 1,200 Ohioans, the organization said.

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