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The U.S. Department of Education is trying to address the teacher shortage by providing $18.8M to 15 higher education institutions. Photo: Getty

U.S. Department of Education awards $18.8M to 15 universities to strengthen teacher of color pipeline

William Paterson University Awarded $1.6M to launch a project that would diversify New Jersey’s teaching workforce

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The August F. Hawkins Center of Excellence Program was created in 2008 to “support centers of excellence at institutions of higher education (IHEs);” Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). Fifteen years later, the program is receiving its first funding since its conception—totaling over $18 million in grants to 15 higher education institutions. 

The U.S. Department of Education announced the grants will “increase high-quality teacher preparation programs for teachers of color, strengthen the diversity of our teacher pipeline, and address teacher shortages.” 

Congress allocated $8 million from President Biden’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget proposal for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education and funds for FY 2023, totaling approximately $18.8 million in grants. 

One of the 15 higher education institutions selected to receive the grant was William Paterson University—an HSI and MSI allocated $1.6 million to launch a project which is to “provide support to school districts throughout the area near Wayne, NJ, to focus on reducing barriers in teacher recruitment, placing teacher candidates in high need areas, and support high need areas through university-district partnerships. The long-term goal is to replicate these practices in school districts around the state.” 

“We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Education for recognizing William Paterson University as an institution that is committed to serving the diverse communities in our region by preparing members of these communities to become fantastic teachers—not only elevating themselves, but also serving as models for the teachers of tomorrow,” said Amy Ginsberg, dean of William Paterson University’s College of Education. “Grow your own initiatives like this are vital to building and maintaining economically and culturally strong neighborhoods where children flourish.”

She also adds that “approximately 60 percent of children in New Jersey’s public schools are racially diverse, only 17 percent of teachers in the state can say the same.” 

As part of the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s “Raise the Bar” agenda, which  aims to eliminate the teacher shortage—with 27% of public schools still having vacancies in October 2022—with high-poverty neighborhoods and schools experiencing a teacher shortage of 60%. 
 

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