Biden’s DoE vows pump $8m into grant program for colleges that train more minority educators

The Biden administration’s Department of Education announced on Friday that it will be funding a failed Obama-era federal grant program to the tune of $8 million for colleges that will train more minority teachers.

Named for the first black politician to be elected west of the Mississippi River, the “Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence” program is “aimed at increasing the diversity of the teacher workforce and preparing teachers to meet the needs of our most underserved students.”

The program “supports comprehensive, high-quality teacher preparation programs at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs),” according to the DOE press release.

Created in 2008, this is the first time the Hawkins program has been funded. Former President Barack Obama proposed roughly $40 million be earmarked for the program in his 2012 budget, but it failed to gain approval, the Daily Wire reports.

But in an era in which identity politics appears to rule, leave it to the Biden administration to get the job done.

 

“At a time when we need to do more to support our teachers and the educator profession, Hawkins Centers of Excellence will help increase the number of well-prepared and qualified teachers, including teachers of color, in our workforce,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

And lest you think the administration is pandering to minorities ahead of what is certain to be an explosive midterm election cycle, think again. Cardona promises this is for the benefit of “all students.”

“We know that teachers of color benefit not only students of color, but all students,” he stated. “When students of color can see their backgrounds and experiences reflected in their teachers, we see higher levels of student achievement and engagement in school, and more students aspiring to be teachers themselves one day.”

The program “will focus on key aspects of a high-quality teacher preparation pipeline, including evidence-based, comprehensive teacher preparation programs that provide extensive clinical experience,” the release explains. “Grants will fund applicants that propose to incorporate evidence-driven practices into their teacher preparation programs.”

“Studies have shown that teachers who enter the profession through comprehensive pathways are 2 to 3 times more likely to remain in the profession compared to teachers who enter through less comprehensive pathways,” the DOE added.

Because the benefitting colleges currently educate a “disproportionate share of teachers of color,” they are “uniquely positioned to recruit, prepare, and place teachers who will provide culturally and linguistically relevant teaching in underserved and hard-to-staff schools,” the release claims.

Applicants who “propose projects designed to increase the number of well-prepared teachers from diverse backgrounds, as well as bilingual and multilingual teachers with full certification” will be prioritized to create a “strong economy in which all Americans can thrive.”

“Today’s teacher workforce does not reflect the demographics of the nation’s public school students,” the DOE said. “More than 50% of public school students are students of color, yet in 2017-18, the most recent year for which data were available, only 21% of teachers were teachers of color.”

“And while English learners are the fastest growing public school student demographic, comprising more than 10% of America’s enrollment, most states face a shortage of bilingual and multilingual teachers prepared and qualified to teach this population and foreign languages,” the Department continued. “These roles are critical for ensuring Americans can compete in the increasingly globalized economy, equal access to education opportunity for English Learners, and the creation of a strong economy in which all Americans can thrive.”

Online, the immediate reaction to the announcement was reduced to three little letters: “WTF.”

https://twitter.com/middlingobiwan/status/1560776359428890624?s=20&t=D3OSiuXeL4btVgviuQw5oQ

“What’s the definition of systematic racism again?” asked one user on Twitter. “So judging people by the color of their skin is acceptable then?”

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