The New Jersey Council of Teachers of English (NJCTE) seeks to address and support underrepresented teachers of color in New Jersey and within our own organization. The Teachers for the Dream grant, funded with the generous support of NCTE, will help NJCTE support teachers of color within the state and within the leadership of our organization. We hold that this initiative will help us increase the diversity of our membership overall.
Teachers of color are underrepresented in New Jersey and nationwide. Yet a diverse staff and educational environment are critical to providing high-quality learning for a diverse body of 21st-century student learners.
A Fall 2011 study by the Center for American Progress found that “students of color made up more than 40 percent of the school-age population. In contrast, teachers of color were only 17 percent of the teaching force.” The same study found that students of color make up 48% of students in New Jersey, while teachers of color make up 18% of the teaching force. The disparities are only growing starker. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in Fall 2014 the percentage of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools who were White was less than 50 percent (49.5 percent) for the first time and represents a decrease from 58 percent in Fall 2004. To address this educational disparity with dire consequences for students of color, Researchers Saba Bireda and Robin Chait argue for, among other supports, mentoring for new teachers of color. NCTE, and NJCTE, are uniquely positioned to do this work for teachers of English.
In order to support teachers of color and the diversity of NJCTE’s organization, NJCTE’s Teachers for the Dream Program is recruiting two teachers of color in elementary, middle, secondary, or postsecondary ELA education.
These two chosen educators will be involved in all levels of NJCTE. We will ask the two teachers to:
1. attend NJCTE board meetings
2. present, with the assistance of other board members, their work at one of our NJCTE conferences
3. share, at one of our NJCTE conferences, some of their reflections and experiences from their NCTE attendance
In return, the program will provide:
1. 2-year memberships in NJCTE and NCTE for the two teachers
2. conference registration for the teachers for all NJCTE conferences during the two year period
3. travel support to help our two teachers attend NCTE during one of the two years ($500 each)