State Strengthens Commitment to Raising Student Achievement With Number of Incoming Teach For America Corps Members Increasing More Than 25 Percent

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kaitlin Gastrock | Teach For America
(646) 315-1396 | kaitlin.gastrock@teachforamerica.org

DENVER, May 24, 2010—Teach For America announced today that 150 of the organization’s new teachers will come to the state this fall to teach in the highest-need public schools. These local teachers are among more than 4,500 new Teach For America corps members nationwide, the largest incoming corps in the organization’s 20-year history. They were chosen through a highly selective process that attracted a record 46,000 applicants. At more than 120 colleges and universities, more than 5 percent of the senior class applied to Teach For America, including 12 percent of all seniors at Ivy League universities and 7 percent of the senior class at Colorado College. The applicant pool also included 4 percent of graduating seniors at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The incoming local corps of 150 teachers is 26 percent larger than last year’s incoming corps, and will reach about 9,000 students.

“We are thrilled to be able to expand our impact in Denver and Colorado Springs,” said Sean VanBerschot, executive director of Teach For America in Colorado. “These 150 new teachers will join our current corps members and alumni in working tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of Colorado students.”

Teach For America, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, will place more than 8,200 first- and second-year corps members in 39 regions across the country this fall. This year’s incoming corps members have an average GPA of 3.6 and 89 percent held a significant leadership position. The fastest-growing segments of the corps are graduate students and professionals seeking to have an immediate impact in education. Twenty-eight percent of incoming corps members received Pell Grants. Almost one-third are people of color, including 7 percent who are Hispanic and 11 percent who are African American, which is more than double the percentage of African American graduates at the colleges where Teach For America primarily recruits.

A growing body of rigorous research demonstrates the effectiveness of Teach For America teachers. A new study from the University of North Carolina compares the effects on student achievement of graduates from the UNC teacher-preparation system with teachers from other pathways, including Teach For America. At every grade level and subject studied, students taught by Teach For America corps members did as well as or better than those taught by traditionally prepared UNC graduates. Middle school math students of Teach For America teachers received the equivalent of an extra half-year of learning.

“We have empirical data that proves the enormously positive impact that Teach For America teachers have on their students,” said Erskine B. Bowles, the president of UNC. “Imagine how it changes the life of a young person who gains up to an extra half-year of learning for every year they are in the class of a Teach For America teacher. I couldn't be a bigger fan. We are working hard to scale the Teach For America model in our schools of education.”

The new corps members in Colorado will join the more than 280 Teach For America alumni in the state who are working from within education and every other professional sector to expand opportunities for students and families in low-income communities. Of the 20,000-plus Teach For America alumni nationwide, two-thirds remain in education, including 450 who are school principals or superintendents.

About Teach For America
Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. This fall, more than 8,200 corps members will be teaching in 39 regions across the country, while more than 20,000 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.