FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear and state education leaders announced on Thursday the relaunch of the Kentucky Academy for Equity in Teaching, a statewide initiative to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce of teachers.
The academy is a partnership between the Kentucky Department of Education, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, the Kentucky Board of Education, and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
“This initiative will help us to recruit, develop and retain a highly effective, diverse and culturally competent workforce of teachers and school leaders,” Gov. Beshear stated. “This is an urgent goal for the success of every Kentucky student, school, district and community, and I am committing state funding for this effort.”
The academy will focus on three areas: to Inspire, Prepare and Educate the future and current teacher workforce. The initiative aims to provide grants, mentoring, coaching and training, as well as support for recruitment while working to expand pathways to educator certification.
“Educators are given the wonderful responsibility of helping shape the future of the commonwealth by serving our children,” said Education Commissioner Jason Glass. “But we have too few people wanting to become teachers and too many teachers leaving the field shortly after they start. We especially have too few people of color, too few men and too few individuals from lower-income backgrounds currently in the teaching profession. It’s important for our students to see people who look like them at the front of a class, whether we are talking about race, ethnicity, economic background, disability, or gender.”
According to the Department of Education, diversity in the profession can lead to increased student achievement, lower dropout rates and other positive outcomes, including increased aspirations to attend a postsecondary institution. All students benefit socially when they have role models from a wide array of backgrounds, making them better local and global citizens.
“Every student in the commonwealth deserves equitable access to excellent educators who have unique experiences and perspectives and are committed to their success,” said Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, a former teacher who is also the Secretary of the education and Workforce Development Cabinet. “Kentucky’s education leaders, and we as educators, have a shared responsibility in ensuring that this becomes a reality. Together, with deliberate action and shared commitment, we can deliver on that promise.”
Aaron Thompson, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, said that to accomplish this, removing barriers to recruitment and creating opportunities for successful completion of college educator preparation programs is vital.
“Equity in our teacher workforce is one of the most important ways we can demonstrate our values to the next generation,” Thompson said. “It helps expose students to a rich and diverse learning environment and allows every student to perceive their stake in our educational system. The effect is clear: Greater equity in our teacher preparation programs sets the stage for greater college attainment among all of our students.”
Find out more about the initiative at https://education.ky.gov/teachers/Pages/KAET.aspx.