Creating a Strong Community of Effective Black Educators

Revolutionizing Education

Education is a key tool for a more socially just, equitable, and liberated society. While schooling has historically reproduced systems of oppression that marginalize Black and Brown children, educators are key change agents in educational systems. Preparing a strong Black teacher force positively impacts not just Black and Brown children, but all children. We are committed to enhancing your experience and success as a Black educator. The Black Educators Initiative (BEI) is designed with your growth and development in mind.

Launched in 2020 as an extension of City Teaching Alliance’s flagship teacher development program, BEI provides financial and programmatic support grant funds for current and aspiring Black educators. Through this fellowship, Black teachers in our program qualify for a minimum of $4,000 (and up to $5,000) in grant funds and a minimum of $20,000 (up to $25,000) in direct tuition payments towards your Master’s degree in Teaching.

A Note from our Managing Director

The Black Educators Initiative provides the space for Black educators to acknowledge the strength and power of their personal story, build community, and learn from other powerful educators who are reimagining what is possible for our students and educating the next generation of leaders. My vision for the Black Educators Initiative is that we provide the necessary resources and support for Black educators across all of our sites to not only survive but thrive. I believe that our schools can be places of liberation and healing for students, but to drive systemic transformation, we need to ensure that our Black educators feel affirmed in their cultural identity, what they bring to the classroom, and that they are wholly supported throughout their entire time in our program.


Jasmine Knowles, Managing Director,
Black Educators Initiative

Black educators are key change agents in schools and communities, but they are scarce and under-represented.

0 %
Of public school educators nationally identify as Black
0 %
Of public school educators identify as Black men
0 %
Decrease in the probability of Black male students dropping out when taught by a Black educator

Placing Black Educators In the Classroom

Schooling has historically reproduced systems of oppression that marginalize Black and Brown children, contributing to systems of privilege and oppression that perpetuate inequities and social injustice. By infusing more diverse, well-prepared educators into urban communities like you, we will create positive impacts for all children and contribute to a more just and equitable society.

Historical and contemporary qualitative and quantitative research highlights that teachers of color improve learning as well as social and emotional development for their students of color (Bristol & Martin-Fernandez, 2019). Your role as an educator is crucial in breaking down these oppressive systems and fostering an inclusive environment where all students can thrive.

The How

Building on our history of preparing diverse educators to lead in our schools, with more than 60 percent of our annual teacher cohorts over the last five years being composed of Black or Latinx individuals, City Teaching Alliance accelerates innovations across our recruitment, induction, preparation, and retention functions. We couple tuition scholarships and loan forgiveness with existing and new program supports.

Most critically, BEI builds on the legacy left to us by our ancestors and elders.

  • Calling to Serve
    We draw on the rich history of Black educators who have shown us what teaching as social action can make possible for our children when we understand teaching as a context for the lived practice of social justice work. It is our intention to ensure that Black educators will positively impact children in our communities, develop their social-emotional skills, and impact whole child success. This, in turn, positively impacts communities where we are located.
  • Building Community
    We are engaged in collectively building strong, interconnected systems that celebrate, support, and create fertile ground for the success of Black educators. We recognize that this requires strong relationships at national, state, city, and community levels; this is not work that can be done in isolation from the communities we serve. We collectively support Black educators who make a difference in the lives of our children and communities. We are committed to celebrating the assets they bring to the classroom, and are working tirelessly to address barriers to teacher preparation and retention for those who are called to serve. The work is supported by $25 million in funding to prepare Black educators in Baltimore, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.
  • Continued Support
    Fellows and residents at City Teaching Alliance are supported by a Community of Elders—experienced Black educators—who have both the lived experience in the Black diaspora, but also stand in defiance of anti-Blackness to affirm the assets of Black educators. Through a network of mentors who support fellows and residents in navigating systems of education that have largely marginalized Black children and educators, the Black Educators Initiative embraces the legacy of Black educators as change agents and advocates for justice in America. Additionally, we offer distinct professional development opportunities that focus on the needs of Black educators wellness and mental health, as well as tutoring to successfully navigate Praxis and other certification exams.
  • Financial Supports

    Our goal is to place more Black teachers in classrooms – giving our large populations of Black students in Baltimore, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC the representation they deserve – but we know that the costs and the systemic barriers to equitable funding associated with an advanced degree and teacher certification can be intimidating. As a resident and fellow at City Teaching Alliance, you are provided access to various student loan supports, grants, and scholarships.

    We encourage you to check out the UNCF Black Educators Fellowship. Through this fellowship, eligible applicants up to $5,000 in grant funds and up to $25,000 in direct tuition payments to American University. For more information about this specific opportunity and others at UNCF please explore the scholarship opportunities on their website.

    • Have high expectations for Black students and thus push them to excel.
    • Bring an innate understanding of life experiences and culture of Black students who often don't see themself fully represented in textbooks.
    • Give fewer disciplinary referrals resulting in reduced rates of exclusionary discipline for Black students.
    • Act as role models for under-represented Black male students.
    • Reduce Black male students' probability of dropping out of school by 39 percent (Gershenson, Hart, Lindsay, & Papageorge, 2018).

    When it came to my decision to join [City Teaching Alliance], I don’t know that I was entirely sold on the idea until I saw the Black Educators Initiative, and then when I did see it, it seemed too good to be true! I wasn’t prepared to take on a large financial burden right after undergrad because I already had loans I had to pay off, and though I knew I wanted to shoot for my master’s degree and beyond, I had it in my mind that I would need to work for a few years before jumping into a program. I’m glad to say that [City Teaching Alliance] and BEI have made it possible for me to continue my education much earlier than I thought was available for me!

    Marsalis B.

    Cohort 2022, Dallas

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