The national teacher placement group Teach for America has announced a new recruitment target: undocumented college graduates.
The group is going after "dreamers" — in part to diversify its teaching corps — but it's also making a statement.
“This decision reflects our belief that if you’re brought to the U.S. as a child, you should be able to pursue an education without fear of deportation, and have a path to contribute to American society through achievement in education," the group's co-CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard said in a written statement.
Teach for America gives recent college graduates and professionals two-year stints as classroom teachers. Right now, only about half of its teachers label themselves “people of color" but the group says its 11,ooo teachers usually end up in mostly black or Latino schools.
The group is recruiting undocumented college grads with “deferred action” legal status - which means they've been granted deferral from deportation and have been given permission to work.
UCLA education researcher John Rogers said the "dreamers" bring valuable experience.
"Through their knowledge of the local communities, through their understanding of the immigrant experience they have a set of insights that will allow them to work with parents, to work with young people, and to work with the faculty of their schools," he said.
Teach for America gives candidates about six weeks of training before placing them in rural or urban schools. Teachers have to commit to two years.
Regular public school teachers have to study for at least one year to get a teaching credential.