Diversity and Inclusiveness

Our Vision for the Road Ahead

  • Overview
  • Chief Diversity Officer
  • Chief Diversity Officer Team
  • Diversity Action Task Force
  • Diversity & Inclusiveness (D&I) Team (Human Assets)
  • Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships Team

We are in the process of reflecting upon our journey and charting a clear path toward fully living up to our diversity core value. We’ve identified a group of people who will lead us in these efforts and hold us accountable to achieving results.

For the first time in eight years, we have hired a chief diversity officer (CDO), who will oversee all of TFA ’s diversity and inclusiveness initiatives. We are grateful that Dr. McClaurin has chosen to channel her more than 30 years of experience into helping us build a stronger and more culturally competent organization. She is charged with providing our diversity vision and setting our priorities.

 

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“I sincerely believe that diversity and inclusiveness matter and should be viewed as assets that we must become more savvy at knowing how to infuse into our everyday practice.”

Our CDO team provides the organization-wide leadership, vision, language, and strategies that will advance our efforts to become a more diverse and inclusive community.

The Diversity Action Task Force, convened by the CDO, is made up of people from teams across the organization, at different management and staff levels. Task force members work closely with their team leader and the CDO, centering diversity and inclusiveness in their work to:

  • Influence important, mission-aligned decisions around areas including our goals, priorities and initiatives
  • Mobilize functional teams toward overarching diversity efforts

Our D&I team works with teams across the organization to develop resources and programs for staff that help build an inclusive culture. Staff Resource Groups, for example, aim to foster a deep sense of community among people of shared interests and backgrounds. Our Staff Diversity Series is a TFA rite of passage that sets up all staff members to operate in alignment with our core values and thrive within our diverse context.

This team works to establish and nurture relationships outside of TFA that help us connect across communities and bring diverse perspectives to the table, including the following:

  • Native Alliance Initiative
  • African American Community Initiative 
  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Initiative
  • Early Childhood Education Initiative
  • Military Veterans Initiative
  • Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology Initiative

Diversity: One of Our Core Values

Our Diversity Statement

The following diversity statement was first published by Teach For America in 2007. Diversity became a part of our core values in 2011.
  • Diversity Statement
  • Impact on students
  • Long-term impact
  • Collective strength

Teach For America seeks to enlist our nation’s most promising future leaders in the movement to eliminate educational inequity, and we know these leaders will be diverse in ethnicity, race, and economic background. Their places on the political spectrum and their religious beliefs will be similarly varied, and we seek individuals of all genders and sexual orientations and regardless of physical disabilities. Maximizing the diversity of our organization is important so that we can benefit from the talent and energy of all those who can contribute to our effort, and also to increase the opportunity for engagement in the circles of influence in our tremendously diverse society. Moreover, we seek to be diverse because we aspire to serve as a model of the fairness and equality of opportunity we envision for our nation.

At the same time that we value each individual who commits to our cause, we also place a particular focus on attracting and fostering the leadership of individuals who share the racial and/or economic backgrounds of the students underserved by public schools. In terms of race, we place the most significant focus nationally on ensuring the representation of African American and Latino individuals, given that more than 90 percent of the students we reach share these backgrounds. At the same time, we also seek to recruit American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, and Asian American corps members and staff members, given that we reach many students of these backgrounds in certain Teach For America regions. We emphasize racial, ethnic, and economic diversity to enhance our impact.

We have seen that our most effective corps members--those who have effected the greatest academic progress--represent all races, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds. When such teachers are themselves from historically underrepresented racial backgrounds or low-income families, however, they have the potential to have a profound additional impact because they can be particularly persuasive with students regarding the potential for success in education and in life.

Alumni who share the racial and/or economic backgrounds of our students can also be particularly influential in the long-term push for societal change, because of their rich perspectives and credibility, and because their leadership in and of itself demonstrates the value of that change.

While it is the responsibility of each person within Teach For America to make decisions with sensitivity to the needs and desires of our students and communities, we have seen that individuals who are themselves from underrepresented racial or low-income family backgrounds can often ground the discussions and advance the thinking of our diverse corps, alumni groups, and organization in important ways.