Teach For America Shows it’s Learned a Lesson About Diversity: Now, What’s Next?

Teach for America is browner than ever before. This week, the organization announced that 50 percent of its incoming corps of 5,300 identify as people of color. This compares to the less than 20 percent of all teachers nationwide. Whether friend or foe, all should be encouraged by the news that a mainstream organization is responding to the needs of our communities and country. The question I have is, how good does TFA look now that it’s beige?

Not only is TFA browner; it’s beginning to reflect the populations the organization serves. Here are the other demographic markers stated in the announcement:

  • 47 percent received Pell Grants, a reliable indicator of low-income background
  • One-third are the first in their families to attend college
  • 22 percent identify as African American
  • 13 percent identify as Hispanic
  • 6 percent identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander
  • 1 percent identify as Native
  • 33 percent come to the corps from graduate

The complexion of previous classes certainly dogged the organization. I’ve said, “education reform is too white to do any good.” Communities of color won’t allow education reform to be imposed like school uniform rules. And communities are not fooled by tokens in brown or blackface. Education organizations must serve first by representing communities from the inside out. Meaning, be a diverse, democratic organization before you seek to make a community one. <Read more.>

Via Andre Perry, The Hechinger Report.