57 Berkeley grads join elite Teach for America corps

Teach for America has named UC Berkeley as one of the top five large universities contributing graduating seniors to its 2010 teaching corps. Following a highly selective admissions process, 57 UC Berkeley graduates were admitted to the national corps, which is comprised of college graduates who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and to become leaders in fostering educational opportunity.

A record 46,000 students applied to be in this year’s corps, and there was a 12 percent acceptance rate, with 4,500 students chosen, according to a press release from Teach for America.

Teach for America listed the top five contributing colleges and universities in three school-sized categories — large, medium, and small. Among large universities, the University of Texas at Austin came in first place (80 students), followed by the University of Michigan (79) and Cornell (60). UC Berkeley was ranked #4, with the University of Wisconsin-Madison (56) in fifth place.

Carrie Donovan, K-12 programs manager for UC Berkeley’s Cal Corps Public Service Center, said she wasn’t surprised to hear the good news about UC Berkeley, “given that Berkeley has a long-standing reputation for commitment to public service.”

“There has also been a lot of awareness on campus about the importance of education, especially in light of the state budget cuts that have affected students here,” she added. “At Cal Corps, we work with over 300 UC Berkeley students who are tutors or mentors and working in schools. A lot of students are passionate about being teachers and want to share the opportunities they’ve had at a public university with youth, especially first generation, low-income students.”