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: Teach For America | 212-279-2080 x123
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For Immediate Release


TOP GRADS FROM CLASS OF 2002 TURN TO SERVICE

Shift Fuels Teach For America's Largest Corps Ever, Speeds Expansion of Movement to Ensure Equal Opportunities for All Children

NEW YORK, May 7, 2002 - As a growing number of top college graduates from leading universities prioritize service over traditional career paths, Teach For America welcomes its largest corps ever and pushes ahead of its aggressive expansion plan. This fall, the organization will place more than 1,700 outstanding college graduates of all academic majors in classrooms in urban and rural public schools in low-income communities across the country, where they will teach for at least two years.

"We encourage our nation's future leaders to effect change in the classroom and beyond," said Wendy Kopp, founder and president of Teach For America. "Teach For America offers these civic minded individuals the opportunity to have an immediate impact in some of our country's lowest-income communities while gaining the insight to be effective lifelong advocates for fundamental change. I'm confident that this talented group of incoming corps members will lead their students to achieve academic excellence. And while many of them will stay in education far beyond their two-year commitment, others will go on to become part of a collective force working for change from other sectors, including government, law, financial services and health care."

Teach For America recruits at top colleges and universities across the country to find outstanding individuals who have demonstrated academic achievement, leadership abilities and a commitment to improving opportunities for all children. This year, 7% of Yale and 14% of Spelman seniors applied to Teach For America. Schools that yielded large numbers of Teach For America 2002 corps members include: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Virginia, Northwestern University, University of California-Berkeley, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Emory University and University of Texas-Austin.

With the larger than expected corps, Teach For America will be able to place teachers in two new sites, Detroit and St. Louis, and increase placements in its existing sites this fall, including Atlanta, the Rio Grande Valley, and Los Angeles. Additionally, through the expansion of its Bay Area presence, Teach For America will place corps members in San Francisco Public Schools for the first time.

"The extraordinary interest in post-graduate service opportunities has allowed us to push our expansion plan ahead of schedule," said Nicole Baker, Teach For America's vice president of new site development. "By opening two new sites this fall, and securing additional teaching positions through our existing sites, we will be able to have an even greater impact in the communities we serve."

After an intensive pre-service training program at Teach For America's training Institutes in Houston and New York City, the new corps members will join an estimated 830 returning corps members to form the largest group of active corps members the organization has ever supported.

Teach For America received 14,000 applications for its 2002 corps, the most ever in the organization's history. This is nearly triple the number of applications (4,946) Teach For America received for its 2001 corps. The increased interest in Teach For America comes at a time when graduate schools, service organizations, and other teaching programs are also seeing increases in applicants in the range of 30-50%.

About Teach For America
Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools. Corps members go above and beyond traditional expectations to impact the lives of children growing up in low-income communities. Beyond their two years, corps members take their insight and added commitment to assume leadership roles - inside and outside the field of education - and work toward the fundamental changes necessary to provide more equal opportunities for all children in our nation.

Since its first 500 corps members entered classrooms in 1990, Teach For America has recruited more than 8,000 outstanding college graduates of all academic majors. Corps members teach in eighteen locations in underserved communities across the country: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit*, Houston, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, St. Louis*, Washington, D.C., eastern North Carolina, southern Louisiana, the Mississippi Delta, the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, the San Francisco Bay Area and in the Navajo Nation in northwest New Mexico. For more information on Teach For America, please visit: www.teachforamerica.org.

*Teach For America plans to place corps members in Detroit and St. Louis in the Fall of 2002.

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