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ERIC Number: ED535430
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 293
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-0697-9
Examining the Career Choices and Civic Engagement Activities of Teach for America Alumni
Snell, Erin B.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
Public education is a cornerstone of democracy, intended to offer all citizens the knowledge and skills necessary to be informed and engaged members of society. For public education to be successful, our country must recruit, train, and retain high quality teachers, principals, school board members, and other educational leaders. And, their efforts must be supported by a citizenry of educated voters, elected officials, and advocates for public education. The US is currently facing a dearth of such educational leaders and involved citizens. The nonprofit organization and national service program Teach For America (TFA) has become one of the most prominent national groups working to improve public education. TFA recruits, trains, and supports high-achieving recent college graduates to be teachers in low-income communities. Since its inception, TFA has grown substantially and receives extensive attention and financial resources. Yet, relatively little is known about the influence of the organization on participants. Do alumni enter careers in education or public service? Are they civically engaged? Is TFA a promising model for recruiting and retaining highly qualified educators and developing involved citizens over the long term? This study uses data from a comprehensive survey of TFA Alumni and a similar survey of a comparison group of individuals who were accepted to TFA, but who opted not to participate, to evaluate the effectiveness of the organization. The major findings are that although members of both groups engaged in many forms of civic engagement, TFA alumni were less civically engaged than their non-participant peers. On the other hand, even though non-participants were slightly more likely to have undergraduate majors in education, TFA alumni were more likely to choose employment and graduate programs in the field of education and in the public and nonprofit sectors. Thus, TFA is a promising model for improving public education. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A