Even as 2016 Numbers Falter, TFA Posts “Early Admission” Call for 2017 Recruits
On the Teach for America (TFA) home page on April 18, 2016, is the following message:
CLASS OF 2017
APPLY TO THE CORPS
DEADLINE: APRIL 20
There is a link to ““learn more,” the url for which ends with early_admission_Deadline1. (I find the idea of a “first deadline” interesting since the last “deadline” is the real one.) If one clicks the link, one gets this pitch:
APPLY TO TEACH FOR AMERICA EARLY
If you will complete your bachelor’s degree between July 2016 and June 2017, you can apply early for Teach For America’s 2017 corps. Here are a few reasons why you might want to apply early:
- You are planning to apply to Teach For America’s 2017 corps and you want the certainty of having an early confirmed offer.
- You have a summer internship that may lead to a full-time job offer, and you’d like to consider that position and Teach For America on the same timeline.
- You want to know if this option is on the table before you consider opportunities during the fall job recruitment season.
- You are interested in accessing unique leadership development opportunities available to early admitted applicants during your senior year.
- You won’t be able to apply during your final year because you’ll have a conflict with our admissions timeline.
The information above was featured in this TFA “Top Story” on March 14, 2016, which happens to be two weeks after TFA leadership had told its network that there would be layoffs a-coming. (The network was told on February 29, 2016, and TFA posted the news for the public on March 21, 2016, the same day that Diane Ravitch posted the news via an inside leak.)
On April 12, 2016, TFA President Elisa Villanueva Beard announced that TFA’s 2016 corps would be “smaller than last year’s by several hundred corps members.” She also announced TFA’s intention to recruit students “as sophomores and juniors, instead of waiting until their senior year.”
The early recruitment page featured above reads as though TFA’s intention is to provide potential recruits with the leverage afforded by early planning. However, the reality is that TFA needs these early recruits to give its organization more stability, i.e., to show their school and district partners up front that TFA can reliably deliver on the numbers of promised recruits– which it has not been able to do in 2014, 2015, and, now, 2016.
As it stands, the 37,000 applicants in 2016 approximates the “more than 35,000” in 2009. However, Beard believes that the final number of those accepted in 2016 will be “several hundred below” 2015. In 2015, 4,100 applicants were accepted, which means that Beard anticipates roughly 3,700 to be accepted in 2016. This would put the 2016 corps at ten percent acceptance– which would actually make the number accepted in 2016 smaller than the number accepted in 2009. (Fifteen percent were accepted in 2009, which would have amounted to at least 5,250 new corps members.)
If TFA cannot deliver on those promised recruits, such will inevitably translate into a falling away of its school and district partners– partners who pay fees to TFA for its temporary teachers. In FY2014, TFA received $31.6 million in “service fees.” Whereas this number represents only about 9.5 percent of TFA’s total revenue for FY 2014 (the total being $331 million), taking a hit to that 9.5 percent for a third consecutive is apparently enough to warrant layoffs.
And without recruits (and partners to hire those recruits), there would be no TFA to which wealthy philanthropists might donate the likes of the $208 million that they did in FY 2014. (Another notable revenue slice came from government grants: $73.5 million).
Thus, to readers who are aware TFA’s recruitment woes, the call for early admission is a between-the-lines plea of desperation.
Coming June 2016 from TC Press: