Ensuring the state implements laws, as intended by the Legislature, is vital work. And provided MN Comeback’s support for – and advocacy to – expand nonconventional teacher preparation (e.g., the Collaborative Urban Educator and residency programs), we turned to the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs to ensure effective implementation of state provisions to increase the number of teachers of color.
Both preparation and the diversity of those prepared serve to make our classrooms stronger. One of the ways MCLA is plugging in is by turning their attention to the college that prepares most of our state’s teachers of color.
Following is an update from our friends at MCLA about Metropolitan State University’s Teacher Candidate Grant Program and the Collaborative Urban Educator and Greater Minnesota Educator of Color Program…
The School of Urban Education at Metropolitan State University prepares more teachers of color than any other institution in the state, and two state grant programs advocated by MCLA and the Coalition provided crucial support to help our teacher candidates complete student teaching required for licensure.
Since our Urban Teacher Program was launched in 2001, we have struggled to overcome an achievement gap among our candidates because a disproportionate percentage of candidates of color could not afford to complete their programs and student teach for 12-15 weeks full-time without an income while still needing to pay tuition and living expenses. The Teacher Candidate Grant program offering up to $7,500 for student teachers in shortage areas who demonstrate financial need provided 45 candidates critical financial support, including 25 of color (55 percent).
Furthermore, the expanded Collaborative Urban Educator and Greater Minnesota Educator of Color Program, with a new provision added in 2017 that included a small competitive grant program, made it possible for Metro State to receive some grant money ($90,000) under this program for the first time. We used all of our grant money to support 32 student teacher candidates of color with full tuition scholarships in spring and fall 2018 with several more scholarships to be granted for spring 2019 student teachers. We have also used some of this grant money to fund tutors for NES Essential Academic Skills Test Prep Sessions that have successfully increased the pass rates on the Math skills exam that has disproportionately kept our candidates from becoming fully licensed. According to René Antrop-González, dean of the School of Urban Education, the work of MCLA and the Coalition has been “incredible.”
Want to know more? Stay up-to-date with MCLA’s work by clicking here!