New York is the most populous city in the United States and exerts a significant influence over commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. As the home of the United Nations Headquarters, New York is an important center for international diplomacy and has been described as the cultural capital of the world. New York is also home to the largest public school system in the nation, and it is falling short. Only one in ten students from New York’s lowest income communities will graduate from college.
Transformational leadership at all levels has led to significant progress in New York City over the past ten years. Our city’s fourth graders are performing a full grade-level higher than they were a decade ago, graduation rates for African American and Latino students have risen by more than 20 points, and the overall high school graduation rate has increased for nine consecutive years.
Teach For America has been a significant source of this transformational leadership, at the school and system-wide level. Between corps members and alumni, we have more than 1,700 teachers in classrooms across New York, with 120 alumni principals leading schools. At the system level, there are more than 65 alumni officials at the NYC Department of Education, and our alumni are also starting successful ventures and advocacy organizations to address gaps in education quality.
Despite the past decade’s progress, educational opportunity for all children is still at stake in New York. Only one in five of New York City’s graduating seniors is prepared for college, and only one in ten children in the Bronx will ever go to college.
In New York today, we see a critical need for more and more leaders to sustain and grow momentum. As we push for dramatic change, we cannot be without a force of committed and talented leaders to fill emerging classroom, school, and civic needs. Teach For America seeks to be among the critical sources within this leadership pipeline, so that all children in New York City have the opportunity to succeed.