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Even as 2016 Numbers Falter, TFA Posts “Early Admission” Call for 2017 Recruits

April 19, 2016

On the Teach for America (TFA) home page on April 18, 2016, is the following message:




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:


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:


school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Stay tuned.



Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

From → TFA

  1. A few days ago, I received an email from TFA offering a 1,000 finders fee for any referrals. They are desperate.

  2. Donna permalink

    I would love nothing more than to see TFA close its doors forever — and return my money to the government. I had no choice is sending my tax dollars to this b.s. organization that has done more harm to children/neighborhoods/schools/teachers and unions, while enriching Wendy and her husband and corporate leaches everywhere masquerading as saviors. Oh, but the wheel continues to spin, don’t it?

  3. Michael Fiorillo permalink

    Time to keep up the pressure, and drive a stake through the heart of this vampire.

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