One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.

Monday 8 June 2015, by teachforamerica

A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

“Give a man some fish and you’ll feed him for one day. Teach him how to fish, and you’ll feed him forever.

For 25 years, Teach of America has been part of the movement committed to giving all students ac-cess to an excellent education. They focus on the millions of the students growing up in low-income communities. Their mission is “to enlist, develop, and mobilize as many as possible of our nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence.” TFA also collaborates with various firms all over the business world, who allow new hires to spend two years teaching in low-income communities with poor access to quality education (a key factor for over-coming poverty, especially nowadays). As they show in their statistics section, American children living in poverty are unlikely to finish a bachelor’s degree: only one third will finish High School and only 18% will be admitted to a four-year college, among which 9% will graduate. Their principal aim is to focus on improving poor children’s education so as to increase their chance of getting quality college education, giving them access to the means for breaking their poverty vicious cycle and reducing inequality. Both the size of the organization (measured in the number of teachers and regions attended) and the operational budget have increased at a very fast pace since it was founded.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

Wendy Kopp realizes that there was lot of students in rural and urban school that were suffering rooted injustices. In most of these public schools the quality of education was low and disgusting, so this kids facing lack of resources in their schools were unable to make-up the long term effects of poverty and racism. So, since Teach for America was created in 1989 their ethical challenge has been to eliminate educational inequity in America.
Therefore, the work done by TFA trying to expand educational opportunities has been essential to begin the process of educational transformation in America. One of the keys of the project to address this inequity has been to give their deep belief and optimism to children and communities that the problem and its consequences are solvable. With the Early Childhood Education Initiative they give to the child an excellent early education because they know that with a strong start they would develop themselves better.
Another ethical challenge they are facing is the discrimination of black teachers. Despite the diversity of the nation’s students, only 7% of public school teachers are black. So they have undertaken the African American Community Initiative to dramatically increase the number of black men and women who choose teaching as a career.
Moreover, they are trying to address the highest levels of poverty that experience native children which greatly affects their academic and life options with the Native Alliance initiative. For example, since 2010 they have increased the number of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian individuals in their teaching corps from 40 to 300.
To conclude, what we have observed is that this organization is addressing a key problem in this society. Education is the initial base for everyone, so what can be more important than give everyone the opportunity to receive an excellent and equity education? We know that there is a lot to do, but we think that TFA has started a good job, has boosted the beginning of a process, of a transformation and evolution of American nation bases.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

Teach for America is a non-profit that has grown with a main value, contributing to create a fairly world in which to live, reducing both income and knowledge inequality among people and fostering up-ward social mobility. So, we actually trust that they have an ethical purpose. To strength our beliefs, we have known that there are not any monetary incentives, which could turn aside of correct way. Conse-quently, their job means a key of knowledge, giving to the children a chance to choose somewhat goal, without taking into account where they were born.
In the other hand, they are aware that what we learn during childhood becomes our future behaviors; as a result, it is mainly helping and teaching them to argue and to be able to make decisions, knowing better the consequences. For that reason, it is important to teach children on the essence of what is ethic and just and what not, because, when they grow up, they will be the main part of the society, and consequently, they will elaborate the future business model, always in line to what they learnt as young people. Moreover, this type of organization, not just contributes to the society, its effects also extend over to the people who work in it. For example, by making graduates become a teacher in an unknown scenario, they could help them to exit from the comfort zone so as to collaborate on something different, and in a project, ultimately paying attention on the necessities of foreign people as much as themselves. We believe that, by spending time teaching underprivileged children, successful students and professionals (many of whom are able to have impact in our society) who spend time teaching will also become aware of many of the problems our society faces – one cannot improve problems one doesn’t know of. Finally, we would like to say that the only social responsibility is based on the own satisfaction. Neither there are monetary incentives, because the only wage the teachers gain is exclusively a maintenance stipend to pay food and accommodation.
For these reasons, we think that this organization is highly ethical, because they have clear values and the societies’ values too implemented in its own culture, and act in accordance (as opposed to just sending bogus signals).

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

The organization has been growing fast during the previous years. As a result, conditions for rent-seeking behavior could be created for its managers that could distort the true ethical nature of the organi-zation – making education accessible for underprivileged children-. Furthermore, the “systemization” of the organization could provide a springboard for attracting volunteers who apply merely for CV-improving reasons (some partner firms such as JPMorgan recruit summer interns directly from TFA, for instance). Finally, two other big challenges could arise. Firstly, trying to give support to as many children as possible could drain resources in a way that the actually most needed ones are exclud-ed of the program or get subpar allocations. This could be easily tackled by introducing new considerations in the admission process, such as clearly defining thresholds for household income or previous education. The other challenge arises from the fact that TFA (Teach For America) has been accepting donations by companies involved in scandals related to allegedly unethical behavior such as Wells Fargo (tax avoidance, lobbying or violations of customer rights, among others). Similar companies taking advantage of TFA’s ethical purpose could threat the very nature of TFA by corrupting its values. As a result, the organization could improve by conducting a sort of “ethical due diligence” of the companies it accepts donations from and reject those involved in such kind of behavior. This would also incentivize against rogue companies using ethical organizations as a proxy for PR actions.
Finally, we would like to consider that an organization formed by people cannot be either totally ethical or totally unethical, but TFA (and any other non-profit or for-profit organization) can potentiate the good part of its culture and implement systems to quickly detect and correct bad practices.




Location: New York (United States)

Sector: Education

Official website: https://www.teachforamerica.org/

Key figures:
  • Revenue: 9 million (FY 2011)
  • Countries: Nowadays America
  • Number of applicants: 57.000
  • Corps Members: 6.000

Nbr. visits: 222