Creating a Strong Community of Effective Black Educators
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. The Black Educators Initiative (BEI) aims to do just that.
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, eligible applicants 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 to American University.
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.
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, we 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).
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 new 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.
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. All residents and fellows at City Teaching Alliance are provided access to various student loan supports, grants, and scholarships. We actively update this portion of our website as additional financial resources become available.
We encourage interested applicants to check out the UNCF Black Educators Fellowship. Through this fellowship, eligible applicants 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 to American University. For more information about this specific opportunity and others at UNCF please explore the scholarship opportunities on their website.
BLACK TEACHERS IMPROVE ACADEMIC AND LIFE OUTCOMES FOR BLACK STUDENTS. BLACK EDUCATORS:
- 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!
Cohort 2022, Dallas
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