The state of Colorado has long suffered from a lack of Black educators. During the 2019-2020 school year, the Colorado Department of Education reported that less than 2% of teachers in the state were Black. This is a stark contrast from the student population that is nearly 50% people of color. In an effort to attract more Black educators, Colorado College has partnered with the Sachs Foundation to bring more Black teachers to Colorado classrooms.
The Colorado College and Sachs Foundation partnership hopes to keep Black teachers in-state by providing financial incentives. Black undergraduate students at Colorado College can earn $1,000 by taking part in a five to ten-hour weekly internship with an educational organization. Students that stick with an education profession in-state are eligible to have their salaries supplemented up to $20,000 annually for the first three years after graduation. Not to mention, students can apply for $5,000 summer fellowships and $575,000 foundation grants for those interested in graduate-level teaching programs.
Colorado officials hope that the partnership will bridge the economic gap that often prevents marginalized communities from entering the education system. Often times, students from Black and brown communities are unable to take the low paying teaching positions that are offered out of college. As a result, first-generation students from historically marginalized communities pursue higher-paying career paths like engineering and business.
“These stipends are a way to tell students we know this is not a lucrative career, but if you get $50,000 and not $30,000 your first few years of teaching, you have a hope to pay off some debt and that buys you some time for when that salary raises,” Manya Whitaker of Colorado College told the Denver Post.
“Plus, teacher turnover is highest in the first two years on the job, so this can hopefully help with that.”
Colorado officials will be able to see how well their incentive works when the program kicks off this semester at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.
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