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Grant will bring more diverse teachers to Northern Kentucky University

WCPO NKU student union.png
Posted at 5:13 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 19:05:07-04

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Northern Kentucky University will work to diversify the education workforce, thanks to a grant awarded by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. 

“Nationally, about 80% of teachers are white. In Kentucky, 95% of teachers are white. It’s a moral imperative at this point that we do something about diversifying the workforce,” said Ginni Fair, Dean of NKU’s College of Education.

The grant is for $100,000. NKU will match that with an additional $100,000.

According to Fair, the university will take a three-pronged approach to achieving its goal.

First, it’ll work to meet an immediate need by offering scholarships for the Masters of Arts in Teaching program to teachers of color. That’s an 18-month online program where teachers can work in the classroom while getting their certification. Students on campus for content area majors such as history or math can also receive a scholarship to pursue a minor in education.

The university also plans to create a pipeline of future educators.

“(We plan) to get into these diverse high schools and establish some clubs for groups such as Educators Rising so we can start connecting with those students as early as 11th and 12th grade,” said Fair.

Finally, Fair said, the university will look at how it prepares all educators, helping them to be the “most effective advocates for their students in the classroom.”

NKU will partner with three area school districts as part of this initiative, including Covington Independent Schools, Newport and Erlanger-Elsmere school districts.

“We whole-heartedly acknowledge the need for our staff to better reflect our population. It just makes sense,” said Ken Kippenbrock, Executive Director Human Resources and operations at Covington Independent Schools.

According to Kippenbrock, 62% of students attending the district are students of color. Yet, only 23% of the total staff at the district are people of color.

“We simply don’t have the candidates and we need to be more intentional about our recruiting efforts,” he said.

“It’s not that folks don’t want to be teachers. It’s that a lot of them don’t understand that it’s a viable option for them,” said Dr. David Childs, NKU professor and founder of Black and Brown Educators of Excellence.

Childs said the grant money will not only help to diversify the education workforce, but will create a better learning environment for students.

“The research shows, when students have someone that looks like them and also can culturally relate to them and can affirm them, they perform better academically,” he said.

Fair said the university plans to recruit during the springtime, with the hope of enrolling people into the MAT program in the summer.