You might have seen the Washington Post article on Teach for America, how it has become the ‘hot’ program for college graduates. 4,500 Teach for America recruits were trained this summer. Smart kids are attracted to this program for lots of reasons, one simply being the salary and the opportunity to study for advanced degrees.
This month, Teach for America won a $50 million federal grant that will help the program nearly double in the next four years. Teach for America was founded in 1990 by a Princeton graduate who hoped to expose future leaders to the problems of education.
The program resembles the Peace Corps: two years in low-income urban and rural public schools.
Applications are up by a third, but only about 12% are accepted. The new college grads make $49,000 this year, and possibly more if they participate in a voluntary performance pay program.
That’s better than the Peace Corps’ readjustment allowance. The young people I’ve seen selected for this program are first rate. I’m sorry to see them ‘pass up’ the Peace Corps, but they tell me it is easier to get into Teach for America than the Peace Corps and the agency’s lengthy application process.
Or as one young friend at the college where I worked asked, “is there still a Peace Corps?”
How far off the radar are we anyway?