Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson Salutes Public, Private Investment in Texas HBCUs

Washington, D.C., Feb. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Math and Science Initiative has received a planning grant from the Fund II Foundation to design UTeach STEM teacher preparation programs at up to 15 historically black colleges and universities in six states and the District of Columbia. The Dallas-based non-profit has partnered with UNCF (United Negro College Fund) to support the universities as they design their programs.

“NMSI and UNCF are nationally recognized leaders in the advancement of American education,” said Fund II Foundation Board President Robert F. Smith. “I look forward to supporting them to develop strong programs that meet the unique needs of students at HBCUs. I’m also excited to see how this new work allows more young people to reach their highest potential in their personal lives, professions and communities.”

NMSI, UNCF and the UTeach Institute are working with academic leaders at potential program schools. Those institutions include Alabama State University, Bowie State University, Claflin University Clark Atlanta University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Spelman College, Talladega College, Tougaloo College and Tuskegee University. The institutions that move forward with the program will work with the program team to design their new STEM teacher preparation programs.

The new programs will be based on UTeach, a renowned university-based STEM teacher preparation program founded at The University of Texas at Austin. Since 2009, NMSI has worked with the UTeach Institute to expand the program, which provides math and science undergraduates at 45 universities with teaching skills, classroom experience and continuing support in their early teaching careers.

UTeach teachers average longer classroom careers than graduates of other teacher preparation programs, and nearly 70 percent of UTeach graduates teach in Title 1 schools. Based on standardized testing, their students perform as if they had almost six extra months of science and four extra months of math instruction.

“Addressing STEM teacher shortages and ensuring that all students benefit from teachers of diverse backgrounds is critical and core to NMSI’s mission,” said NMSI CEO Bernard A. Harris, Jr. “Expanding the UTeach program to HBCUs will benefit students across the nation.”

The initiative comes just after passage of the FUTURE Act, providing permanent federal funding for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions and providing significant STEM-focused funding for those schools.

“I have spent my entire political career working to broaden access to careers in STEM,” said U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX). “HBCUs have long played a vital role in educating minority students in STEM. Many of my own family members attended HBCUs in Texas. Last year, I sponsored the STEM Opportunities Act and the MSI STEM Achievement Act, both of which passed the House. I commend Robert Smith, the Fund II Foundation, the National Math and Science Initiative, and UNCF for working to increase the number of minority STEM teachers through their STEM teacher diversity initiative. Minority STEM teachers are critically important for developing a diverse and innovative STEM workforce, and we must do more to ensure they have the support they need.”

A 2017 study from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics found that having at least one African American teacher in third through fifth grades increased African American students’ interest in attending college by 29 percent and reduced the probability of dropping out of high school for male African American students from very low-income families by 39 percent.

"Research clearly shows the powerful impact black teachers have on black students. HBCUs already are punching above their weight in the production of STEM graduates— generating 24 percent of the STEM bachelor’s degrees earned annually by African Americans,” said Dr. Michael Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “The nation continues to have incredible need for math and science teachers of color, and students of color deserve to have educators who look like them.”

 

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Juan Elizondo
NMSI
214.346.1249
jelizondo@nms.org

Kay Shaw
Fund II Foundation
202.810.7212
kshaw@fund2foundation.org

Richard Shropshire
UNCF
202.810.0222
rshropshire@uncf.org

Source: United Negro College Fund, Inc. (UNCF)

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