Scholarship Program Looks to Increase the Number of Black and Other Minority Public School Teachers

In the United States today more than 40 percent of all public school students are members of minority groups. But only 16.7 percent of all teachers are minorities, and the percentage is decreasing.

To address the shortage of black and other minority teachers, in 1992 the Rockefeller Brothers Fund established the Aspiring Teachers of Color program. In 2010 the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation took over the administration of the program. Since 1992 the Aspiring Teachers of Color program has issued scholarships to 375 students who aspired to be teachers. Recipients receive $30,000 for graduate school. They sign a pledge to teach in an urban or rural public school for three years. The program reports that 60 percent of its fellows are still teaching five years after completing graduate school. This compares to the national average of 33 percent who are still teaching after five years.

To be eligible for the fellowships, students must be African American, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American, have at least a 3.0 grade point average in college, and be accepted at a participating graduate school.

A new class of 25 fellows has been chosen for the Aspiring Teachers of Color program. Three of the new fellows are from Ivy League schools and two are from historically black colleges.