The numbers add up: two years into an effort to recruit more applicants who can teach high-shortage subject areas, nearly 20 percent of all applicants to Teach For America's 2006 corps had backgrounds in math, science or engineering. Overall, applications for this year's corps increased 9 percent, placing TFA among the top ten largest employers of college grads, and the only non-profit group to make the list. TFA may be within hailing distance of its ambitious goal of producing 4,000 new teachers annually by 2010.
More school districts are looking to alternative groups like The New Teacher Project and TFA to fill math and science positions. TNTP's New York City Teaching Fellows accounts for 23 percent of active math teachers in the Big Apple, and a whopping 80 percent of the Fellows entering classrooms this fall will teach math, science or special ed. TFA received applications from one third of all math, science and engineering majors from the graduating class of the University of Notre Dame, as well as 8 percent of the graduating class of Caltech. Applications from the graduating class of Georgia Tech increased by a whopping 38 percent.