In a report released on Wednesday (Sept. 5), Tulane University was ranked in the top 20 among medium-sized universities and colleges contributing the greatest number of graduating seniors to the Teach for America teaching corps.
John Ayers, executive director of the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, sees Teach for America as a key piece in education reform. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)
The ranking, which was compiled by Teach for America, lists Tulane as fifth, rising seven spots from last year’s rank of 13th. According to Gaby Barahona, regional communications manager for Teach For America, 8 percent of Tulane’s graduating seniors applied to Teach For America this year, and 41 graduates joined the incoming corps.
John Ayers, executive director of the Tulane-based Scott S. Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, says that Teach for America, now in its 22nd year, is a key piece in sustained education reform.
“Those who get into TFA can make a huge difference in the lives of young people,” says Ayers. “We now have evidence that a highly effective teacher is the most influential factor in increasing student achievement.”
Ayers cites a recent study in which 94 percent of principals who have worked with TFA teachers were in agreement that corps members make significant and positive impact in their schools.
Beyond the positive impact they have on urban, low-performing school districts, TFA alumni “take leadership roles in reform organizations, important nonprofits and school or district administration,” says Ayers. “Louisiana’s state superintendent of education, John White, started his career as a TFA corps member in Newark, N.J. in 1999.”
Teach For America corps members are college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. The organization recruits on more than 600 college campuses, seeking seniors and graduates from all academic majors and backgrounds.