Tufts among top Teach For America colleges
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013 02:09
Tufts ranked sixth among medium-sized colleges and universities with the most graduates participating in Teach For America (TFA), a national non-profit organization that employs college graduates to teach in underprivileged schools.
The university is up 14 spots from last year’s No. 20 ranking. Thirty-five members of the Class of 2013 enlisted in TFA, according to last year’s TFA Recruitment Director Joni Roberson.
Each year, TFA recruits high-performing college graduates to teach in urban and rural classrooms, Roberson said. Twenty-three Tufts graduates are now serving their second year as TFA corps members, totaling 58 Tufts grads in the two-year program.
Roberson credited the university’s high ranking to the university’s wealth of leadership opportunities and relationship with local communities.
“I think that Tufts, the university itself, has a strong connection and commitment to the community in Somerville, which exposes students to social issues around race, class and privilege and makes them strong candidates for the corps, along with the many opportunities students have to hold leadership roles during their time at Tufts,” she said. Sade Porter (LA ’13), who joined the TFA corps this year, explained the impact that TFA had on her middle school education in the Bronx, New York, where members of the organization came to teach her class.
“When I was being taught by TFA teachers, their level of rigor and their high expectations and the things we were being taught were a completely different level compared to what I knew before,” Porter said. “The teaching I received from them helped pave my path towards education.”
She said that her experience with TFA influenced her decision to attend a private boarding school, which she believes eventually lead to her acceptance at Tufts.
“If I didn’t have those TFA teachers who believed in me, I would not be where I am today,” she said.
As a current corps member, Porter is eager to represent the organization and to help make education a national priority.
“I believed in the program and its mission statement to bridge the inequality opportunity gap,” she said.
With a rigorous application process that involves essay responses and several interviews, TFA has accepted less than 15 percent of applicants for the past three years. Roberson said the next application deadline for seniors considering joining the corps is Oct. 25. As a new feature this year, TFA will also accept early applications — due by Feb. 20 — from juniors interested in the program. Roberson encouraged interested students to get in contact with this year’s recruitment manager at Tufts, Nick Diaz.
She said that TFA looks for three primary qualities in applicants, including academic achievement, leadership skills and a strong desire to improve children’s education.
“We believe our students deserve the best,” Roberson said. “We want to ensure that the students we choose to send into classrooms are going to be strong advocates and help kids move forward in terms of academic achievement.”