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A Grant Competition for $8 Million Will Improve Teacher Diversity

This week, the U.S. Department of Education announced a new $8 million grant competition with the goal of diversifying the teacher field and educating educators to meet the needs of our most underprivileged pupils.

The Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence (Hawkins) program supports thorough, top-notch teacher preparation programs at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and tribal colleges and universities. Augustus F. Hawkins was the first Black politician elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from a state west of the Mississippi River (TCUs).

The Hawkins Program will this year get money for the first time since its founding in 2008, as stated as a priority in President Biden’s FY 22 budget plan. Under Part B of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Congress provided $8 million for the awards in the 2022 omnibus bill.


The U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, “At a time when we need to do more to support our teachers and the educator profession, Hawkins Centers of Excellence will help expand the number of well-prepared and qualified teachers, including teachers of colour, in our workforce.

“We are aware that all students benefit from having teachers of colour, not only pupils of colour. Higher levels of student accomplishment and engagement in school are observed in kids of colour who can see their origins and experiences reflected in their teachers, and more students express a desire to become teachers themselves in the future.

The Hawkins Program will concentrate on important elements of a pipeline for high-quality teacher preparation, such as programs that are comprehensive, evidence-based, and offer a lot of hands-on experience.

Grants will be given to candidates whose programs for teacher training include evidence-driven methods.

According to studies, instructors who enter the field through thorough channels are 2 to 3 times more likely to stay there than those who do so through less thorough routes.

A disproportionately high proportion of black teachers are trained in HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs. These institutions are in a unique position to identify, train, and place educators who will deliver instruction in underserved and challenging staff schools that are culturally and linguistically relevant.

The composition of the nation’s public school students does not match the makeup of the teacher workforce today.

More than 50% of students in public schools are people of colour, yet just 21% of teachers in 2017–18, the most recent year for which data were available, were people of colour.

A shortage of bilingual and multilingual teachers who are qualified to teach this population and foreign languages exists in most states, even though English learners are the demographic of public school students with the fastest rate of growth, accounting for more than 10% of all enrollment.

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For Americans to be able to participate in the increasingly globalized market, English Learners must have equitable access to educational opportunities, and a robust economy is necessary for everyone in the country to prosper.

The Notice Inviting Applications, therefore, includes competitive priorities for applicants that propose projects aiming to expand the number of qualified teachers from varied backgrounds, as well as bilingual and multilingual teachers with full certification.

The Hawkins Program funding program expands on the Department’s initiatives to fortify and diversify the teacher pipeline, particularly as states and districts struggle to fill their staffing gaps.

56 years in the California Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives made up Augustus F. Hawkins’ public career.

Numerous pieces of legislation that intended to better the lives of urban poor neighbourhoods and people of colour were steered by Representative Hawkins. It is a pleasure for the Department to carry out this grant program and preserve Representative Hawkins’ legacy.

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