Teach for America will begin recruiting eligible individuals who are living in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status to join their corps of educators. This is in an effort to expand educational and career opportunities for immigrant college graduates.
Teach for America is a non profit organization founded in 1990 that is based out of New York and works with recent college graduates to train them to become teachers. The program places young educators in rural and low-income neighborhoods and encourages a commitment to combating educational inequity in these areas. Teach for America’s focus in this new initiative is to match immigrant graduates with communities that share their racial and ethnic backgrounds. The organization’s studies have found that creating this connection between teachers and the children they are educating has a profoundly positive impact on learning and comprehension.
Many members of Teach for America believe these young graduates bring with them valuable life experience that will benefit them when connecting with the children they are assigned to teach. Their insight into the immigrant experience and their bilingual backgrounds are expected to add diversity to the ranks of the organization’s members.
To be eligible for this opportunity, children brought to the U.S. by their parents before they were 16 years old must have been granted Deferred Action status, which means they received temporary relief from deportation and authorization to work in the U.S. from federal immigration officials. These individuals must also have earned a minimum GPA of 2.5 and must expect to receive their diploma by June 2014.
The act that provided protection from deportation for children of immigrants, called Deferred Action, was put into place almost one year ago, and in that time over 400,000 individuals have applied for and received that status. The largest group of young applicants have come from Mexico, followed by Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Many of the applicants have strong English-speaking skills, and over half are considered to be bilingual.