Nearly $19M in Grants Awarded to 12 Colleges to Address Teacher Shortage

The goal of these grants is to increase the diversity of K-12 teachers across the country.
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  • The U.S. is experiencing a teacher shortage, with 27% of public schools reporting multiple teaching vacancies.
  • Additionally, the current makeup of teachers does not reflect the diversity of students.
  • The Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program aims to bridge that divide.

The federal government awarded a dozen minority-serving institutions (MSIs) $18.8 million to both diversify the teaching pool and address the teaching shortage.

The Department of Education (ED) announced Wednesday that colleges and universities across the U.S. can soon expect funds through the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program. The program — dormant since its creation in 2008 — supports teacher preparation programs at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), and other MSIs.

This injection of funds comes at a crucial time for K-12 education.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 45% of public schools were operating without a full teaching staff in October. The problem is most pronounced in high-poverty neighborhoods, where 57% of schools had at least one teaching vacancy.

ED added that by awarding these funds to MSIs, the department hopes to diversify the teacher pipeline. Despite more than half of public school students being students of color, only 25% of educators were teachers of color in 2018, according to the department.

ED Secretary Miguel Cardona stressed how important it is for college students to bridge that divide.

"I’ll never forget the impact that my first teacher of color had on me as a student, and my experience tracks closely with years of research suggesting the profound, positive influence that educators of color have on students of all backgrounds," Cardona said in a statement.

A more diverse teaching pool will also likely lead to more multilingual teachers to help students from non-English speaking backgrounds, the department said.

The following schools will receive Hawkins Program grants:

School State Grant amount
California State University, Dominguez Hills California $1,599,946
Metropolitan State University Colorado $1,571,926
Florida International University Florida $1,565,498
University of Hawaii Hawaii $1,592,314
National Louis University Illinois $1,341,279
Bowie State University Maryland $1,589,014
William Paterson University of New Jersey New Jersey $1,599,999
Medgar Evers College New York $1,599,738
Northeastern State University Oklahoma $1,512,832
University of Texas at El Paso Texas $1,586,079
University of Houston-Clear Lake Texas $1,599,669
Sam Houston State University Texas $1,599,900

Congress appropriated approximately $8 million for this program in the latest omnibus budget. ED redirected another $10 million, according to the department.