Before the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling outlawing school segregation, African American men and women constituted a significant measure of the teacher pipeline, particularly in predominantly African American communities. Following this historic court decision, 38,000 African American teachers lost their jobs; there were severe declines in the number of African American students enrolling in educator preparation programs (EPPs); and new teacher certification and admission program requirements contributed to the loss of another 21,500 Black teachers between 1984 and 1989. Hispanic male representation was not studied in this same context, but this population is also underrepresented in contemporary P-12 education. Project PR is a research- and community-based response to the persistent underrepresentation of minority male educators in P-12 classrooms, which will also help states address escalating teacher shortages and gaps in student achievement.
Research continues to highlight the critical importance of a racially diverse teaching corps in American schools, especially for large numbers of minority students confronted with the challenges of growing up amidst poverty. Schools staffed with diverse teachers also support the intellectual and social development of non-minority students needed to function effectively in an increasingly diverse world. The project is an innovative approach to increase the supply of highly qualified minority male teachers to serve in low-wealth school districts. The needs of the project will be addressed in collaboration with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) through targeted and early recruitment and a dynamic outcomes-based curriculum that aligns with high school standards and college and university expectations.
Minority male college students aspiring to join the teaching profession through traditional education preparation programs (EPPs) are often confronted by formidable program admission and completion barriers, which include unmitigated achievement gaps (oftentimes reflecting lack of opportunity versus lack of ability); insufficient familiarity with standardized testing (pre- and post-program completion); and EPP program costs (testing, student-teaching insurance, background checks, licensing fees, etc.). Project PR will engage a diverse group of stakeholders to develop, implement, and evaluate a research-based, culturally-relevant program that utilizes high-impact instruction including field projects to achieve established learning outcomes. Key project features include early enrollment of prospective EPP students (junior year of high school); formative and summative performance assessments; individualized intervention strategies to close achievement gaps; supplemental self-paced learning platforms using appropriate instructional technologies; mentoring and academic advising; a toolkit to support success in the EPP of their choice; and completion of college credits prior to enrolling in higher education.
Project PR will achieve outcomes through emphasis on skill development in the essential areas of written and oral communication, critical thinking for problem solving, teamwork, and quantitative literacy, which are among the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) essential six learning outcomes as described in their publication “College Learning for the New Global Century.” In addition to closing academic achievement gaps, the project aims to foster the building of a strong foundation for participants to begin developing the requisite knowledge, skills, and dispositions of highly competent and effective educators. Project PR acknowledges the prominent role of assessing student learning in P-12 and therefore will engage participants in discussions of the culture, theory, and practice of assessment (evidence) throughout the program.
Finally, HBCUs have a strong historical foundation to build on for 21st century education reform efforts. Many of these institutions began as teachers colleges, and as a whole they continue to graduate the majority of African American students with degrees in the field of education. This project entails a collaborative and innovative approach to closing academic achievement gaps through the work of states, HBCU educator preparation programs, and their school partners.
|Alabama||Jim Purcell, Executive Director
Alabama Commission on Higher Education
|Arkansas||Maria Markham, Director
Arkansas Department of Higher Education
|University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff|
|Louisiana||Joseph Rallo, Commissioner
Louisiana Board of Regents
|Southern University and A&M College|
|Mississippi||Glenn Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education
Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning
|Alcorn State University|
|South Carolina||Jeff Schilz, Interim President and Executive Director
South Carolina Commission on Higher Education