Slam poetry league founder: 'Teachers can't afford to be quiet' about race | We the People

Slam poetry league founder: 'Teachers can't afford to be quiet' about race | We the People

Matthew Kay first learned to tell stories as a child growing up in Germantown, by creating them with his mom.

“We’d see an old woman walking a dog and she’d be like, ‘What’s her story?’ And I’d be like, ‘Well, that’s the dog’s grandmother,’ ” Kay said.

Today, Kay, a 34-year-old English teacher at the Science Leadership Academy, a magnet high school in Center City, helps Philly teens learn to tell their own stories through Philly Slam League, a slam poetry league he founded eight years ago that draws an average of 300 students a week from 22 schools across the city.

Teacher Recruitment Starting in High School

Teacher Recruitment Starting in High School

“Don’t come back here like I did,” a middle school teacher once told me. “Go out and do something special.”

That educator was sending the signal to an impressionable kid that teaching is a stale gig, not a higher calling. It’s a shame because America needs more teachers, and young people will be needed to fill an increasing number of open positions, particularly in districts serving minority and low-income students

Commentary: Look to leadership to retain California’s teachers of color

Our nation has a problem with recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers, particularly teachers of color. According to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, while students of color make up 40 percent of the school-age population, just 17 percent of the nation’s teaching force is made up of teachers of color. What’s more, California has the nation’s largest percentage-point difference between teachers of color and students of color: While 75 percent of students in California are nonwhite, only about 35 percent of teachers are nonwhite, leaving a gap of 40 percentage points.

Through Our Eyes: Perspectives and Reflections From Black Teachers

Through Our Eyes: Perspectives and Reflections From Black Teachers

At Ed Trust, we want to continue the conversation about recruiting and retaining excellent teachers of color. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the student population will be 56 percent students of color by the year 2024. And yet, the majority of teachers still remains vastly White — 82 percent. And that number has hardly budged in decades.

A Conversation With Teacher of the Year Nate Bowling About the Experiences — and Importance — of Black Teachers

A Conversation With Teacher of the Year Nate Bowling About the Experiences — and Importance — of Black Teachers

This Black History Month, Ed Trust honors the rich legacy of Black excellence in the classroom: Black teachers.

When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown v. Board decision in 1954, there were 82,000 Black teachers. But in the following decade, the number of Black teachers in the United States dropped drastically. More than 38,000 Black teachers and administrators in 17 southern states lost their jobs due to the closing of all-Black schools and the unwillingness of newly segregated schools to hire Black educators. These were dedicated professionals who were committed to educating Black children. They poured into their Black students knowledge and principles. They saw in their students promise and unlimited potential and taught them to the highest levels they could. Today, we still have not recovered from this expulsion of Black educators from the classroom — a mere 7 percent of our nation’s teachers are Black.

As a part of Ed Trust’s ongoing work around teachers of color, the assets they bring to the classroom and the challenges they face, we sat down with longtime educator and former Washington State Teacher of The Year and Milken Award-winner Nate Bowling to hear his ideas about the challenges surrounding recruiting talented Black teachers, the experiences that drive too many talented Black teachers out of the field, and what it will take to ensure that America’s teaching workforce reflects its student body.

Black and ethnic minority teachers face 'invisible glass ceiling' in schools, report warns

Black and ethnic minority teachers face 'invisible glass ceiling' in schools, report warns

Teachers from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds (BME) face an “invisible glass ceiling” that limits them from being taken seriously for senior staff jobs, new figures suggest.

A questionnaire sent out to more than 1,000 BME teachers revealed concerns they were being given projects rooted in stereotypes rather than encouraged to take part in wider teaching roles.

Some also claimed bosses relied on stereotypes as an excuse to hand BME teachers classes with the “most challenging behaviour”.

His Students Didn’t Think You Could Be Black and a Principal. He’s Proving Them Wrong.

His Students Didn’t Think You Could Be Black and a Principal. He’s Proving Them Wrong.

Last year as he was preparing to open a new middle school in Rhode Island, Osvaldo Jose Martí worked as an administrator first at Blackstone Valley Prep’s existing middle school and then at one of their elementary schools. When the fourth-graders there made the move up to middle school, it would be to Martí’s new school.

The goal of embedding Martí in the elementary school from January until June: to ensure that both he and the fourth-graders who would become his inaugural class would be equally steeped in the culture of this young start-up charter network.

One moment stands out in Martí’s mind as a vivid reminder of the urgency of the work.

“On this particular day, I had spent the morning doing instructional rounds, popping into classrooms and providing feedback to our teachers,” he wrote later. “As I walked the halls I came upon a teacher with a second-grade scholar who was walking to their classroom.”

A Root Cause of the Teacher-Diversity Problem

A Root Cause of the Teacher-Diversity Problem

Having just earned a teaching degree from Pennsylvania’s Millersville University, Rian Reed set out in 2011 to find a position working with special-needs students. Born and raised in a suburb outside of Philadelphia, she had built an enviable academic record, earning induction into the National Honor Society in high school and speaking at her university commencement. She sought to use her leadership skills and creativity in a classroom in her own community. So Reed, a biracial woman who identifies as black, applied to work in her hometown school district.

“I thought I would serve as a role model for young female students of color, giving back to them more than what I had received,” she said. But according to Reed, the district didn’t even offer her an interview.  

These States Are Leveraging Title II of ESSA to Modernize and Elevate the Teaching Profession

These States Are Leveraging Title II of ESSA to Modernize and Elevate the Teaching Profession

The Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) provided states with newfound flexibility on accountability measures and school improvement strategies. Many policy experts have analyzed states’ ESSA plans, which explain how states use their federal funds under various provisions of the new law, as well as the approaches states take to identify and rate schools and improve their performance where needed.1 And while strong accountability frameworks and school improvement plans are critical for school and student success, ensuring that all students have access to excellent educators is just as important. In fact, ensuring that all students have access to well-prepared and supported teachers undergirds all other efforts to improve student outcomes. However, not much has been written on how states plan to leverage Title II, Part A of ESSA to strengthen their teacher pipelines.

The Center for American Progress has reviewed each state’s ESSA plan, searching specifically for state-led and state-supported programs that will be funded, at least in part, through Title II, Part A of ESSA—the section of the law that designates funding specifically for recruiting, preparing, and supporting teachers. And because this analysis is limited to initiatives under Title II, Part A, it is not an exhaustive list of states’ strategies to improve the educator workforce; rather this brief highlights a few noteworthy states that have proposed promising teacher pipeline initiatives that they are either starting or continuing with support from Title II, Part A of ESSA.

Consistent with the TeachStrong coalition’s ESSA guidance for state actors, these states are leveraging ESSA’s flexibility to support efforts around recruiting teachers of color; improving the teacher preparation experience; providing induction and mentoring to novice teachers; increasing teacher pay; and creating or encouraging career pathways, with the goal of ensuring that all students—and especially students in low-income schools—are taught by high-quality, prepared, meaningfully supported teachers.2 The author also notes what other initiatives and actions policymakers and advocates should watch for and consider as they work to modernize and elevate the teaching profession.

It’s Time for Schools to LEADright!

It’s Time for Schools to LEADright!

LEADright is an educational entity that coaches and trains leaders for excellence. LEADright works with individuals, organizations, and business.  LEADright also provides professional learning and development for teachers, teacher-leaders, administrator, and boards. I have seen the work and benefits of LEADright in schools that I serve. This organization truly can help struggling schools turn around student achievement. LEADright supports educational leaders of struggling schools and districts in…