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.

Impact on Students

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 under-represented 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.

Long-Term Impact

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 perspective and credibility, and because their leadership in and of itself demonstrates the value of that change.

Collective Strength

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 under-represented racial backgrounds 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.


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