(BALTIMORE, MD) — Urban Teachers, a national teacher recruitment, preparation, development, and retention program serving Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Dallas, is launching the Black Educators Initiative, an ambitious $25M effort to diversify the teacher workforce. Through the generosity and support of Ballmer Group, Urban Teachers will place 1,000 new Black educators in classrooms by 2023.
Urban Teachers was founded in 2009 on the principle that building culturally competent, effective teachers for urban schools improves academic and life outcomes for underserved students. Urban Teachers, in collaboration with The Johns Hopkins School of Education, enrolled 300 new aspiring teachers this year, over 60 percent of whom identify as people of color, with 42 percent identifying as Black.
“For us, this means doubling down on our mission to accelerate individual student achievement and disrupt systems of racial and socioeconomic inequity,” said Urban Teachers CEO Peter Shulman. “This investment in our teacher preparation model will allow us to combine research-based practices with ten years of input to effectively recruit, develop, and retain Black educators for some of our country’s most deserving students.”
Several multi-year studies have shown that racial diversity in the teaching field helps all students succeed and greatly increases performance and graduation rates for students of color. However, historical and systemic barriers have limited the number of Black educators who enter and remain in the teaching profession.
The current U.S. teacher workforce, nearly 80 percent White women, teaches a national school-age population that is more than 50 percent Black and Latinx. This is particularly salient for Black boys, who infrequently see teachers that look like them at any point in their education, as Black men represent only two percent of the national teacher workforce.
Urban Teachers has always recruited and accepted highly qualified candidates of color though, given that many of our Black and Latinx teachers are first-generation college students, they often have faced additional challenges to succeeding in the classroom. Through the Black Educators Initiative, Urban Teachers plans to recruit more Black educators to the teaching profession, foster their development through intensive clinical coursework and one-on-one coaching, and provide targeted support to make retention in the profession sustainable.
“All students deserve to have well-prepared teachers who deeply understand them and can unleash their talents,” said Jacqueline Greer, Urban Teachers Chief Program Officer. “We want to ensure our students have the high-quality teachers they deserve and equip those teachers to become game-changing, life-long educators.”
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About Urban Teachers
At Urban Teachers, we believe great teachers are the key to combating racial and socioeconomic inequality. Our mission is to improve educational and life outcomes of children in urban schools by preparing culturally competent, effective career teachers who accelerate student achievement and disrupt systems of racial and socioeconomic inequity. Since Urban Teachers participants first entered Baltimore and Washington, DC classrooms in 2010, more than 1,500 Urban Teachers participants have served over 150,000 children across the three Urban Teachers regions. Urban Teachers is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network and operates in collaboration with The Johns Hopkins University School of Education.
Applications for Urban Teachers’ school year 2020 cohort are being accepted now. Information about how current applicants can apply for financial support through the Black Educators Initiative will be available in January 2020. Learn more at www.urbanteachers.org.
About Ballmer Group
Ballmer Group works to improve economic mobility in the United States for children and families who are disproportionately likely to remain in poverty. We believe that building pathways to opportunity requires broad, systemic change, and we work to understand and mitigate the systemic and inequitable impact of race on economic mobility. We invest in many stages of a child’s life by supporting strong community partnerships among public, private, and nonprofit organizations that use data to more effectively serve families. Ballmer Group was co-founded by philanthropist and civic activist Connie Ballmer and her husband Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, founder of USAFacts, and chairman of the Los Angeles Clippers. Learn more at www.ballmergroup.org and on Twitter @BallmerGroup.