The National Math and Science Initiative has received a planning grant from the Fund II Foundation to design UTeach STEM teacher preparation programs at up to 15 historically black colleges and universities in six states and the District of Columbia. The Dallas-based non-profit has partnered with UNCF (United Negro College Fund) to support the universities as they design their programs.
“NMSI and UNCF are nationally recognized leaders in the advancement of American education,” said Fund II Foundation Board President Robert F. Smith. “I look forward to supporting them to develop strong programs that meet the unique needs of students at HBCUs. I’m also excited to see how this new work allows more young people to reach their highest potential in their personal lives, professions and communities.”
NMSI, UNCF and the UTeach Institute are working with academic leaders at potential program schools. Those institutions include Alabama State University, Bowie State University, Claflin University Clark Atlanta University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Spelman College, Talladega College, Tougaloo College and Tuskegee University. The institutions that move forward with the program will work with the program team to design their new STEM teacher preparation programs.
The new programs will be based on UTeach, a renowned university-based STEM teacher preparation program founded at The University of Texas at Austin. Since 2009, NMSI has worked with the UTeach Institute to expand the program, which provides math and science undergraduates at 45 universities with teaching skills, classroom experience and continuing support in their early teaching careers.
UTeach teachers average longer classroom careers than graduates of other teacher preparation programs, and nearly 70 percent of UTeach graduates teach in Title 1 schools. Based on standardized testing, their students perform as if they had almost six extra months of science and four extra months of math instruction.
“Addressing STEM teacher shortages and ensuring that all students benefit from teachers of diverse backgrounds is critical and core to NMSI’s mission,” said NMSI CEO Bernard A. Harris, Jr. “Expanding the UTeach program to HBCUs will benefit students across the nation.”
The initiative comes just after passage of the FUTURE Act, providing permanent federal funding for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions and providing significant STEM-focused funding for those schools.
“As a two-time graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, a professor of 40 years at Bennett College for Women, and the author of the FUTURE Act, which guarantees permanent federal funding for HBCUs to prepare the next generation of diverse STEM professionals, I applaud this effort from the private sector to supplement that effort,” said U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC). “In 2017, when my office introduced the HBCU Partnership Challenge, my hope was to encourage the private sector and non-profits to view HBCUs as key to accomplishing industry diversity goals, particularly in our STEM fields. Through this STEM teacher diversity initiative, we are seeing an example of true private investment and engagement with these producers of top diverse talent. I commend Robert Smith, the Fund II Foundation, NMSI and UNCF for their efforts in diversifying our workforce by helping prepare our diverse leaders of tomorrow.”
A 2017 study from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics found that having at least one African American teacher in third through fifth grades increased African American students’ interest in attending college by 29 percent and reduced the probability of dropping out of high school for male African American students from very low-income families by 39 percent.
“Research clearly shows the powerful impact black teachers have on black students. HBCUs already are punching above their weight in the production of STEM graduates – generating 24 percent of the STEM bachelor’s degrees earned annually by African Americans,” said Dr. Michael Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “The nation continues to have incredible need for math and science teachers of color, and students of color deserve to have educators who look like them.”
SOURCE: PR Newswire