NEW YORK — Teach For America released on Sept. 3 its annual ranking of the colleges and universities contributing the greatest number of graduating seniors to its 2013 teaching corps. For the past six years, Penn State has ranked among the top colleges and universities of its size. It ranks 12th nationally this year.
Three percent of Penn State's seniors applied to Teach For America, and 43 recent graduates have joined the incoming corps. Throughout Teach For America’s 23-year history, 478 Penn State alumni have taught as corps members.
The University of Texas at Austin is the top contributor in 2013 among large schools, with 73 graduates beginning their two-year Teach For America commitment this fall. Harvard University and Vanderbilt University top all medium-sized schools, each contributing 45 graduates. Among small schools, Spelman College ranks highest, with 27 graduates joining the corps. All four schools have appeared on the top contributors list since it was first released in 2008.
Teach For America corps members are top college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. Teach For America recruits on more than 850 college campuses, seeking seniors and graduates from all academic majors and backgrounds who have demonstrated achievement, perseverance, leadership, commitment to educational equity, and a deep respect for diverse experiences and backgrounds.
This fall, more than 11,000 first- and second-year corps members will be teaching in high-need classrooms across 48 regions. The 5,900 incoming corps members represent more than 800 colleges and universities across the nation.
“We are grateful to the outstanding colleges and universities that cultivate graduates with the leadership skills and deep commitment necessary to expand educational opportunities for students facing the challenges of poverty,” said Elisa Villanueva Beard, co-chief executive officer of Teach For America. “Our corps members bring a vast array of experiences and accomplishments to the classroom, and they are poised to make a meaningful impact in the high- need schools and communities where they will be teaching.”
Thirty-nine percent of the incoming corps identify as people of color. Two out of five incoming corps members received Pell Grants (the most reliable indicator of a low-income background) and 26 percent are the first in their family to earn a college degree. Twenty-six percent are graduate students or professionals from a wide range of backgrounds, including veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, financial analysts, nonprofit staffers, consultants, and participants in other AmeriCorps programs.
“Every year we strive to improve our recruiting to be more racially and economically diverse, and to broaden the pool of applicants,” said Matt Kramer, co-chief executive officer of Teach For America. “This year is no exception, and we are thrilled to have such a diverse and accomplished group of teachers with leadership potential entering classrooms this fall.”
This year’s corps members will reach more than 750,000 students across 35 states and the District of Columbia, including a newly established site in San Diego. They join Teach For America’s nearly 32,000 alumni who work inside and outside of education to expand opportunity for students and families. Among the two-thirds who work in education, one-third are classroom teachers and one-third are in other roles, including principals and superintendents.
For more information, visit http://www.teachforamerica.org.