Teacher Corps Is Among the Most Diverse in Organization’s History, With One-Third of Members Coming from Low-Income Communities

For Immediate Release

Contact: Carrie James I Teach For America
415-271-2000 I carrie.james@teachforamerica.org

NEW YORK CITY, June 19, 2012—Teach For America announced today that it has reached a milestone, as this fall marks the first time more than 10,000 first- and second-year corps members will be teaching in high-need classrooms. This represents a 10 percent increase over last year’s total corps size. Teach For America’s teachers will work in 46 regions in 36 states and the District of Columbia, including communities in three new locations: Northeast Ohio-Cleveland, Southwest Ohio, and Sacramento, Calif.

This year, Teach For America welcomes its 23rd incoming corps, which numbers 5,800. Thirty-eight percent of these first-year teachers identify as people of color, including 13 percent who are African American and 10 percent who are Hispanic. Thirty-five percent received Pell Grants (the most reliable indicator of a low-income background), and 23 percent are the first in their families to earn a college degree. Ninety-eight served as student-body presidents at their alma mater. And 23 percent are graduate students or professionals from a wide range of backgrounds, including veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, financial analysts, nonprofit staffers, consultants, and participants in other AmeriCorps programs.

“More than 16 million children are growing up below the poverty line, and unless things change, only 8 percent of them will get through college by the time they’re 24,” said Wendy Kopp, founder and CEO of Teach For America. “Given the progress we’re seeing in schools and districts across the country, we know this is a solvable problem. I’m so inspired by the individuals in our large and diverse corps who have chosen to join the effort to tackle it. With hard work, dedication, and the partnership of their schools and communities, they are poised to make a real difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of students while gaining the perspective and experience necessary for a lifetime of educational leadership and advocacy.” 

Teach For America’s admissions standards remained high this year; together, the 10,000-member corps has an average GPA of 3.55 and includes alumni of more than 600 colleges and universities across the country. At 55 schools—including the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the University of California-Berkeley, Howard University, Yale University, Arizona State University, and Washington University in St. Louis—Teach For America is the top employer of graduating seniors.

A rigorous and growing body of independent research demonstrates that Teach For America teachers are well-prepared and effective in the classroom. The latest report, released in February by the University of North Carolina, identified Teach For America as the most effective source of early-career teachers (less than five years of experience) among 12 teacher-preparation programs in the state. Recent studies in Louisiana and Tennessee also found Teach For America to be the most effective new-teacher-preparation program statewide.

In addition to its 10,000-strong teaching corps, Teach For America’s community of nearly 28,000 alumni works across a range of sectors to effect change. Two-thirds of them have made education their career—one-third as classroom teachers and one-third in other roles including principals and superintendents. A 2011 study by Harvard professor Monica Higgins and the American Enterprise Institute’s Rick Hess found that Teach For America is creating more founders and leaders of education organizations than any other organization or program.

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding individuals of all academic disciplines to commit two years to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. This fall, more than 10,000 corps members will be teaching in 46 urban and rural regions across the country, while nearly 28,000 alumni are working across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebookand Twitter