A rectangular logo with a young child's hand writing on a piece of paper in the background, and white text reading "on the record."

Salon

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

In an otherwise insightful essay marking the 25th anniversary of the films Do The Right Thing and Lean On Me, Brittney Cooper misrepresents Teach For America's program and mission. We know that the teaching profession is at the heart of strengthening our public education system and creating equitable opportunities for all children. We partner with schools of education to train and support our teachers in many regions. Teaching is the single most popular profession among our alumni, and we're proud of our 11,000 alumni teachers and the work they do every day. We're also proud of the 86% of our alumni whose work—inside and outside of education--continues to take on the systemic challenges of poverty and racism and directly or indirectly strengthens our public education system.

We also believe it's critically important to recruit and foster the leadership of individuals who share the racial and/or economic backgrounds of the students underserved by public schools. The percentage of our teaching corps who identify as people of color is double that of teachers nationwide and we're continually working to increase the diversity of our corps. In our 2013 corps, more than half of our corps members either identify as people of color or grew up in a low-income community.

We're acutely aware that our model can always get better, but through ongoing evaluation and innovation we're working to promote excellent public education for our next generation of leaders.