Each day we see the realities of educational inequity juxtaposed against the concrete evidencethat when students in low-income communitiesare given opportunities they deserve, they excel.

Contact: Kerci Marcello Stroud | Teach For America
917.734.4847 | kerci.marcellostroud@teachforamerica.org

For Immediate Release



TEACH FOR AMERICA ADDS LARGEST NUMBER OF NEW TEACHERS AND REGIONS IN 20-YEAR HISTORY

National Teaching Corps Receives 35,000 Applications—A New Record


NEW YORK, May 28, 2009—Teach For America will place 4,100 new teachers this fall in public schools in low-income communities across the country, representing the largest incoming corps in its history. In the 2009-10 school year, over 7,300 first- and second-year Teach For America corps members will teach in more than 100 school districts in 27 states and the District of Columbia. These corps members are top college graduates who commit to teach for at least two years in underserved public schools and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational equity.

The 2009 corps will head to classrooms in 34 regions across the United States, including a record six new sites: Boston; Dallas; Milwaukee; Nashville, Tenn.; Tulsa, Okla.; and Wilmington, Del. In rural areas such as South Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta, where the demand for high-quality teachers is particularly strong, the number of incoming corps members will more than double from last year.

Teach For America corps members will bring new energy and leadership to the challenge of closing the academic achievement gap for students in low-income communities. On average, these students are three years behind their peers in more affluent areas by the time they are 9 years old, according to the latest data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (also known as the Nation’s Report Card), released last month.

“We’re inspired by the record number of outstanding recent graduates who are choosing to channel their talent and energy toward addressing the unacceptable disparities in educational outcomes that persist in our country,” said Wendy Kopp, Teach For America’s founder and chief executive officer. “Our corps members and alumni, together with many other educators, are demonstrating every day that it is possible to ensure that all of our nation's children have the opportunities they need to excel academically. We’re excited about the leadership and energy this new group—our largest and highest-caliber ever—will bring to our efforts.”

Teach For America recruits on more than 450 college campuses, seeking seniors and recent graduates from all academic majors and backgrounds who have demonstrated outstanding achievement, perseverance, and leadership. Admission to the teacher corps was even more selective than in previous years, with a record 35,000 individuals applying to join. At more than 130 colleges and universities, over 5 percent of the senior class applied. At Ivy League universities, 11 percent of all seniors applied, including nearly 20 percent of African-American and Latino/Hispanic seniors. Teach For America is the No. 1 employer of graduating seniors at more than 20 schools, including Georgetown University, Spelman College, and the University of Chicago.

“Spelman has an abiding history of leadership and service, and I’ve been impressed to see so many Spelman women demonstrate their commitment to service by joining Teach For America,” said Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, the president of Spelman College. “The fact that more than 150 of our graduates since 1990 have become Teach For America teachers speaks to the organization’s strong track record of recruiting the best and brightest to help children in some of our most underserved schools to succeed academically.”

This year’s record-setting pool of highly qualified candidates allowed Teach For America to increase not only the size of its 2009 corps but also its strength. Incoming corps members earned an average GPA of 3.6 and a combined SAT score of 1333, and 89 percent held leadership positions as undergraduates. Almost one-third of incoming corps members are people of color, and one-quarter received Pell Grants. Nearly 10 percent are African-Americans, which is double the percentage of African-Americans enrolled at the colleges where Teach For America primarily recruits.

A growing body of research on Teach For America demonstrates the effectiveness of corps members in the classroom. In March, the Urban Institute released updated data from a 2008 study of the impact of Teach For America corps members teaching high school in North Carolina. The update, which employed larger sample sizes, confirmed that Teach For America teachers have a positive effect on student achievement relative to other teachers, including experienced teachers, traditionally prepared teachers, and those fully certified in their field.

“The most rigorous research to date finds that Teach for America corps members produce student learning gains as large or larger than other novice or experienced teachers in the same schools,” said Michael J. Podgursky, a professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia who serves on the National Research Council study committee examining teacher preparation in the United States. “In addition, a growing number of these academically talented Teach For America recruits have moved into educational leadership positions in public schools. Teach For America thus brings high-quality human capital to public K-12 education that would otherwise not have entered the field.”

Beyond their corps commitments, two-thirds of the 14,400 Teach For America alumni across the country are working full-time in education, and one-third continue as excellent classroom teachers. Some 380 Teach For America alumni serve as school principals or superintendents, more than 500 work in government or policy, and more than 20 serve as elected officials.


About Teach For America

Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for at least two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. In the 2008-09 school year, 6,200 corps members are teaching in over 1,600 schools in 29 regions across the country while more than 14,000 Teach For America alumni continue working from inside and outside the field of education for the fundamental changes necessary to ensure educational excellence and equity. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org.