Each day we see the realities of educational inequity juxtaposed against the concrete evidencethat when students in low-income communitiesare given opportunities they deserve, they excel.

Contact: Carrie James | Teach For America
    415.271.2000 | carrie.james@teachforamerica.org

 

For Immediate Release


TEACH FOR AMERICA FIELDS LARGEST TEACHER CORPS IN ITS 20-YEAR HISTORY

4,500 New Teachers Selected From Record 46,000 Applicants


NEW YORK CITY, May 24, 2010—Teach For America announced today that it will place more than 4,500 new teachers this fall in urban and rural public schools across the country. This corps is the largest incoming corps in the organization’s 20-year history.

“As Teach For America heads into our 20th anniversary year, we’re excited to welcome this diverse group of remarkable individuals to our highest-need classrooms, where they will go above and beyond traditional expectations to help their students achieve academic success,” said Wendy Kopp, Teach For America’s founder and CEO. “They are joining a strong current corps and a robust network of Teach For America alumni who are driving education reform from inside and outside the system. In education, talent is the most precious resource, so these new teachers represent an extraordinary opportunity for the broader movement for educational excellence and equity.”

In the coming school year, more than 8,200 first- and second-year corps members will be teaching in 39 regions, including four new locations: Alabama; Detroit, Michigan; Rhode Island; and San Antonio, Texas. Corps members will be working in more than 100 school districts in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

This year, Teach For America received a record-breaking 46,000 applications, and admission was more selective than ever before, with an acceptance rate of 12 percent. Teach For America recruits on more than 350 college campuses, seeking top graduates from all academic majors and backgrounds who have demonstrated outstanding achievement, perseverance, and leadership. At more than 120 colleges and universities, over 5 percent of the senior class applied, including 12 percent of all seniors at Ivy League schools, 7 percent of the graduating class at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and 6 percent at the University of California-Berkeley.

This exceptionally qualified applicant pool allowed Teach For America to increase not only the size of its incoming corps but also the caliber. Incoming corps members earned an average GPA of 3.6 and 89 percent held a significant leadership position. The 2010 corps also brings a new depth of experience to the classroom, as 14 percent are professionals who completed several years of full-time work before applying to Teach For America.

The diversity of the 2010 corps reflects Teach For America’s focus on recruiting individuals who share the racial and socioeconomic backgrounds of the students it reaches. A significant number of seniors from historically black colleges and universities applied to Teach For America this year, including 1 in 5 at Spelman College and 1 in 10 at Morehouse College. Twenty-eight percent of incoming corps members received Pell Grants, and almost one-third are people of color, including 11 percent who are African American and 7 percent who are Hispanic. In comparison, at the top 400 colleges and universities, 5 percent of graduates are African Americans and 6 percent are Hispanics.

A growing body of rigorous research demonstrates the effectiveness of Teach For America teachers. A new study from the University of North Carolina (UNC) 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.”

Beyond their impact as corps members, Teach For America alumni are at the forefront of efforts to expand opportunities for students and families in low-income communities. By this fall, Teach For America’s alumni network will exceed 20,000 leaders across the country. Two-thirds of alumni are working full-time in education, half of them as classroom teachers and 450 as school principals or superintendents. In addition, more than 500 alumni work in government or policy, and nearly 30 hold elected office.

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.