As Wendy Kopp, founder and chair of the board of Teach For America, has said, "While I started out knowing that diversity would be important, over time I've seen firsthand that achieving greater levels of diversity -- particularly with respect to race and economic background -- is in fact vital to our long-term success."
Diversity is a priority embedded throughout Teach For America. It is one of our core values—the set of principles we see as most crucial to our work—and we believe that the movement to ensure educational equity will only succeed if it is diverse and inclusive in every respect. We hold ourselves accountable for embodying our commitment to diversity in education in all that we do. We're proud of the work we've done to build a more diverse and inclusive body of leaders to help in this work, but we know there's a lot more work to do.
Since educational inequity in our country is largely drawn along lines of race and class, we know that it’s particularly important to foster diversity in teaching, especially through the leadership of individuals who share the racial and economic backgrounds of our students. 90% of the students our corps members teach are African American and Latino. Several of our regions also have significant American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Asian American student populations. We deeply value everyone who commits to this work and as part of our commitment to diversity, we've created special initiatives and campaigns to place a particular emphasis on recruiting committed leaders who share the backgrounds of our students.
Dream Rise Do, African-American Community Partnerships, Latino Leaders, and the Native Alliance Initiative are all vibrant examples of Teach For America's commitment to diversity. In addition, we’ve created forums for our alumni and staff members of color to connect with each other on a large scale. We have also hosted community town halls that highlight the educational opportunities and challenges impacting communities of color. These events attracted thousands of attendees and brought together a diverse group of thought leaders from various professions, including Common, Congressman John Lewis, and Dr. Pedro Noguera. John Legend, another participant at these events, joined our National Board of Directors in 2010.
We also partner with a number of organizations, including Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and the National Council of La Raza to help us recruit and build a diverse talent pool for our teaching corps and staff opportunities.