Building on Teach For America’s first year inside Metro schools, a class of 60 more recent college graduates is expected to come to Nashville this fall.
Teacher For America, a national organization that trains college graduates before bringing them to low-performing schools, arrived in Nashville last year following a lobbying effort from Mayor Karl Dean and others. The group’s mission is to fight the achievement gap that exists between students of different socio-economic backgrounds. Teach For America teachers are in 39 school districts nationwide.
In the organization’s inaugural run in Nashville, 50 college graduates from around the country were assigned as teachers at some of Nashville’s lowest-performing schools. On Monday, Teach For America announced the addition of another 60 corps members for the 2010-2011 school year, bringing the total number in Nashville to 110.
“We are very pleased with this year’s class of Teach For America teachers,” Director of Schools Jesse Register said in a written statement. “This year’s class ... showed great leadership and dedication. We appreciate this partnership and look forward to working with the new recruits.”
Prior to entering the classroom, selected college graduates must complete an intense training session during the summer. Teach For America corps members are obligated to teach in their schools for two years.
Teach For America proponents argue a sizeable percentage of the group’s teachers remain in their designated schools after their two-year obligation is up, but critics, which includes the local teachers’ union, often criticize the long-term effect of the organization.
Overall, Teach For America is bringing a record 4,500 new teachers to schools nationwide this fall. The organization received more than 46,000 applicants.
In Nashville, 9 percent of the entire graduating class of Vanderbilt University applied for Teach For America. Meanwhile, a whopping 33 percent of Fisk University’s seniors applied.