5 Important Things to Know About Teach for America

Wendy Kopp founded Teach for America 26 years ago as a non-profit organization with the mission to draw teaching talent from the next generation of leaders. While many are familiar with the organizational mission to enrich education with the passion and drive of recent college graduates and professionals, they may not be aware of the deeper statistics driving its success. In the article below, we’ve assembled five important and fascinating facts about TFA.

1. Making Waves of Change

Individuals who join the mission of TFA are committed to teaching two years in an urban or rural school district. Their goals are to increase educational opportunities and access to intellectual resources within a disadvantaged community, provide support and inspiration to students, and bring their unique talents to combat the complex issues that students face. To this end, the core values of the organization support all members. Diversity, respect and humility, transformational change, team focus, and leadership guide each member to share their knowledge with each other, rely on each other and bring the best they have to offer to each assignment or task.

2. Specific Vectors

Teachers aren’t just assigned a job and sent out without focus. The core leaders of the organization formulate specific initiatives guiding Teach for America’s defined educational goals.


• Black Community Alliances

• Native Alliance

• Latinx Alliance

• Military Veterans

• Diverse Learners

• Early Childhood Education

• Asian American and Pacific Islanders

• LGBTQ Community

These programs draw upon both the diversity of teachers and work to assess or remediate specific challenges faced by various communities within the larger milieu of educational culture. Using statistics and continuing research, they target challenges and implement programs specifically designed to increase awareness and educational opportunities.

3. Recursive Research

While the core leadership conducts analysis of program impacts, they also draw upon external research to solidify goals and initiatives of the organization. For example, a 2015 study conducted by an independent educational policy group indicated that TFA teachers produce a statistically significant boost in student test scores as compared to more experienced and traditionally educated teachers within the same school or district.

Their analysis includes research with rich data sets from both large, metropolitan areas and, more broadly, states or districts with diverse educational environments. Additionally, Teach for America regularly commissions independent surveys of principal satisfaction with student achievement and Corps member performance, providing a useful database by which they can track changes or plot pathways for improvement.

4. Part of a Whole

While TFA specifically focuses upon educational communities within the United States, it is also a part of a larger, international network of programs. Teach for All was founded by Kopp in 2007, and utilizes the same tools of student success assessment that indicate the importance of student location and educational opportunity. Worldwide, more than 250 million children are not given the necessary education to read, write, and perform basic mathematical calculations. The organization acts as a canopy for 35 independent organizations worldwide that work to improve student success within a domestic sphere.

5. Into the Future

While TFA teachers commit to a two-year contract, the organization is also dedicated to providing a platform for their career goals. They partner with organizations and graduate schools across the nation to ensure that corps members can continue their personal paths to success. Job search support, internships, deferrals, and a vast network of professionals and educators are just a few of the perks members of TFA can access as they progress to the next stage of their own path.

While the organization has some brand recognition among the general public, it isn’t necessarily well known. Instead, this expanding group of educational crusaders works quietly to spread equality across the country, working with communities to increase student success and educational opportunities. Teach for America serves its members by offering them the opportunity to grow their skill set and gives back to the community by creating an innovative and focused environment for learning.