We believe in the power of diversity, because each corps member’s unique background and life experiences add tremendous value to our work. It will take a movement of leaders who are diverse in every respect for our country to reach the day when all children are able to attain an excellent education.

Shared Backgrounds

Having a diverse corps not only enables us to have a bigger impact on the students we teach, but ensures we don’t limit the voices and ideas our alumni bring to the table as leaders working to bring about educational equity. While we value all forms of diversity, we place particular emphasis on recruiting individuals who share the racial or socioeconomic backgrounds of the students we teach, 90% of whom are African American or Latino. Corps members who share their students’ backgrounds serve as powerful role models and have potential for a profound additional impact based on their personal experiences.

How We're Working to Increase Our Diversity and Inclusiveness

We aspire to be a model of the diversity and inclusiveness we envision for our nation. Here are some examples of what we’re doing to live up to this standard each and every day:

  • Upholding Diversity as one of the five organizational Core Values we strive to embody in our day-to-day work and regularly reflecting on what it means to live up to this value.
  • Recruiting at over 380 schools across the country, including state universities, private institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Asian American/Native American/Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions.
  • Partnering with campus-based student organizations, such as the Black Student Union, Hispanic Student Alliance, Asian Student Network, Native American Student Association, student governments, and national Greek organizations, among others.
  • Building national partnerships with organizations such as Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), United Negro College Fund (UNCF), The National Council of La Raza, National Black and Hispanic MBA Associations, and National Urban League, among others.
  • Focusing efforts on strengthening relationships with communities of color through initiatives such as the Asian American & Pacific Islander Initiative, Native Alliance Initiative and Adelante! (a Latino staff-led group that dedicates itself to increasing Latino recruitment and retention).
  • Designing and hosting shared-identity Summits for corps members of color: an intensive leadership and professional development program with a focus on community building.
  • Launching campaigns like Dream. Rise. Do. to increase the call for teacher diversity in the nation's classrooms. 

We're continually seeking additional opportunities to increase diversity and inclusiveness and welcome thoughts at diversity@teachforamerica.org.

The Challenges We Face

The effects of educational inequity are demonstrated by the under-representation of African American and Latino students in our country’s colleges and universities.

  • African Americans make up 14% of the college-aged population (18-24 year-olds), yet make up only 5% of graduates at the top 400 colleges and universities **
  • Latinos make up 20% of the college-aged population, yet make up only 6% of graduates at the top 400 colleges and universities **

Access to higher education remains a significant challenge for many AAPI students with 50-65% of Southeast Asian and 50-60% of Pacific Islander adults (25 or older) not enrolled in any form of postsecondary education.

  • Among Southeast Asians, 34-48% of them reported having attended college, but not earning a degree.
  • 47-58 % of Pacific Islanders entered college, but left without earning a degree. **
  • Only 14% of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (25 or older) have at least a bachelor’s degree in comparison with the 27% for the total population.

In comparison, Teach For America has achieved a higher level of diversity in our corps. We are committed to growing our diversity at an even more accelerated pace.

** US Department of Education, 2012; Institute of International Education, 2004. "Top 400 colleges and universities" refers to the 430 schools listed as "most selective" or "more selective" by US News & World Report, 2008; 2012 CARE Report

Our staff talks about the importance of bringing diverse perspectives into the classroom.

Data valid as of: December 2014


I think the impact of identifying with my students' backgrounds has been tremendous.
Anthony Fowler
Greater Nashville Corps 2010
Within the corps there is a community of acceptance and celebration of our unique perspectives.
Scott Jelinek
Colorado Corps 2010