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Teach For America Gets Surge of Wannabe Volunteer Teachers

Teach For America (TFA), a nonprofit that places the best and the brightest college grads in understaffed and troubled schools for two years, is seeing a surge in applications. Next fall, 3,700 newly trained teachers will be placed in schools, up 28 percent from the year before. These teachers were chosen from an application pool of 24,700, which is 37 percent larger than the previous pool!

TFA, which was born from a Princeton graduate's college thesis, attracts graduates from the most prestigious schools. About 10 percent of graduates from schools like Yale, Harvard, and Georgetown compete for the spots. TFA is also the number one employer for graduates of Duke, Emory, NYU, and Spelman. The recent increase in interest, allows TFA to be more selective.

So why do top students want to dedicate two years to a tough, low-paying job? For an explanation,


Some speculate that it is a combination prestige provided by the tough competition to be accepted and the student's commitment to community service. As it gets more difficult to volunteer with TFA, does it become an elite program?

Would TFA do more to eliminate educational inequality if it focused on recruiting and training graduates that would stay in teaching for more than two years? Or, will the enlightened outlook and immersion experience of future leaders in business and other fields benefit society and bring big-scale change? Why do you think America students are more eager to give back to the community?


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