Teach for America
Headquarters: 315 West 36th St.
New York, NY 10018
CEO: Wendy Kopp
Teach For America is a national corps of top college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity.
Teach For America’s network in the 2012-13 school year includes 10,400 first- and second-year corps members teaching in 46 regions across the country and over 28,000 alumni working in education and many other sectors to create the systemic changes that will help end educational inequity.
Teach For America recruits top college graduates of all academic majors, career interests, and back- grounds who demonstrate achievement, leadership, perseverance, and a commitment to expanding opportunity for children in low-income areas. Recruiting efforts are especially focused on individuals who share the racial and/or socioeconomic backgrounds of the students in underserved public schools, many of whom are African American or Latino.
This year, Teach For America welcomes its 23rd incoming corps, which numbers 5,800 with over 48,000 applicants. Admission rate has been about 15% over the past three years. Thirty-eight percent of these first-year teachers identify as people of color, including 13 percent who are African American and 10 percent who are Hispanic. Thirty-five percent received Pell Grants (the most reliable indicator of a low-income background), and 23 percent are the first in their families to earn a college degree. Ninety-eight served as student-body presidents at their alma mater. And 23 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.
63% of Teach for America alumni are working full-time in education.
Teach For America secures local contributions from businesses, foundations, government organizations, and individuals in the regions where corps members teach. In addition, it receives national funding from corporations and foundations, individuals, and the federal government. More than 75 percent of the organization's revenue stream is regional, and the remainder is national.
Corps members are paid directly by the school districts for which they work and generally receive the same salaries and benefits as other entry-level teachers. Teach For America is a member of AmeriCorps, the national service network, through which corps members are eligible to receive loan forbearance and interest payment on qualified student loans, as well as an education award of $4,725 at the end of each year of service.
Salaries for teachers with the organization range from $30,000 to $51,000, depending on where corps members teach across the country. Urban regions tend to offer higher salaries because of higher cost-of-living. Rural regions offer lower salaries but corps members enjoy the benefits of lower cost-of-living which helps them save money on rent, groceries, utilities and other living expenses. Health benefits and retirement benefits are provided by the school district where members teach.
A foundation led by Meg Whitman, CEO of HP, invested $10 million in Teach for America in October 2011.
In 1989, Wendy Kopp proposed the creation of a national teacher corps in her senior thesis at Princeton University. Convinced that many accomplished recent college graduates seek work that offers significant responsibility and makes a real difference in the world, the 21-year-old Kopp raised $2.5 million of start-up funding, hired a skeleton staff, and launched a grassroots recruiting campaign.
During Teach For America’s first year (1990), 500 corps members taught in six low-income communities.
How Corps Members are Selected
Teach for America selects corps members based on leadership potential and other traits that distinguish the most successful teachers. Over the last 20 years, they’ve learned that it isn’t a specific personality type or background that helps predict success in the classroom. What you’ll find among the most effective corps members is a pattern of excelling with any work they prioritize.
Your potential as a corps member can shine through whether you’ve led your student government, achieved academic honors, managed a complex project at work, served our country in the armed forces, or rallied support for a cause that’s important to you. And those are just a few of the countless experiences our most successful corps members bring to the table. There’s also a specific set of skills that these individuals rely on and develop to drive their success.
Here are the skills the organization seeks to identify throughout the application and interview process:
- Demonstrated past leadership and achievement: achieving ambitious, measurable results in academic, professional, extracurricular, or volunteer settings
- Perseverance and sustained focus in the face of challenges
- Strong critical thinking skills: making accurate linkages between cause and effect and generating relevant solutions to problems
- Superior organizational ability: planning well and managing responsibilities effectively
- Respect for individuals’ diverse experiences and effectively working with people from a variety of backgrounds
- Superior interpersonal skills to motivate and lead others
- Thorough understanding of and desire to work relentlessly in pursuit of our vision
Here are benefits for staff members:
Competitive compensation that is commensurate with your prior experience and position responsibilities. Yearly compensation increases are based on staff member’s contribution to the organization and changes in that contribution over time, the impact and scale of the role, and market factors.
We offer comprehensive medical, vision, dental, and prescription drug coverage.
Flexible Spending Account
Our flexible spending account allows eligible staff members to set aside up to $5,000 in a medical care spending account and up to $5,000 in a dependent care spending account each year.
Eligible staff members may participate in Teach For America’s 403(b) plan from their first day of employment. Eligible staff members are offered matching 403(b) employer contributions after 12 months on staff. After meeting the 12 month eligibility requirement, Teach For America will match 100% of employee eligible contributions up to 5% of a staff member’s eligible gross earned salary in each fiscal year.
Life and Accident Insurance
Eligible staff members are offered $50,000 of basic life/accident insurance at no charge.
Paid Time Off
Eligible staff members receive generous paid time off:
- Three weeks of accrued vacation
- Paid winter break between the end of December and New Year's and 10 holidays
- 10 sick days
Family and Parenting Benefits
- Six weeks of paid parental leave for a primary caregiver who is adopting a child
- Two weeks of paid leave for secondary caregivers
- Two weeks of paid family leave to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition
Paid Disability Leave
Staff members are offered up to 12 weeks of paid medical disability leave (up to eight weeks paid at 100% and four weeks paid at 60%) after three months of employment. Staff members may be eligible for long-term disability coverage after 90 days of disability; 60% of salary is paid up to a monthly maximum of $12,500. Paid disability is offered to mothers who give birth.