In November, Temple University joined the Pennsylvania Department of Education and several local colleges and universities as partners of a new program titled Aspiring to Educate (A2E). The program aims to cultivate and diversify Pennsylvania's educator pool by identifying potential recruits as early as freshman year in high school and offering financial assistance to pursue post-secondary degrees in education.
"This initiative is critically important and addresses a significant and longstanding shortage of teachers of color in the educator workforce," said Gregory M. Anderson, dean of the College of Education at Temple University. Piloting in the School District of Philadelphia, A2E aims to support individuals at various stages in their education and life. The program is structured in three tiers including the Youth Pathway for Aspiring Educators, Adult Pathway for Aspiring Educators and the Post Baccalaureate and Continued Development for Aspiring Educators.
"We are proud to partner with the Department of Education and other higher education institutions, as diversifying the educator workforce is central to the College of Education's social justice mission. This initiative highlights the opportunity to change the narrative around the value of the teaching profession and its importance to our democracy and economic development as a nation," added Anderson.
"The timing of the A2E initiative is incredible, as conversations in different spaces are coming together in this state-wide initiative. It is really special that the College of Education, as a result of the work it has already done in the educational diversity space, is able to take on a leadership role in the initiative and help support a consortium of institutions of higher education in the region and eventually across the state," said Juliet D. Curci, assistant dean of college access and persistence. "This is an opportunity to be mindful about what it means to prepare culturally responsive educators, not only people of color coming into teaching but all educators, to be able to best serve all kids," added Curci.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera is optimistic that if the program is successful in the School District of Philadelphia, the program could expand statewide.