- $500,000 was announced by Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and other officials for Teacher Diversity Pipeline Program
- Funds were secured in the 2018-2019 New York State budget
- Two-thirds of students in Buffalo Public Schools are minorities, while 87 percent of teachers are white
“I help the little kids get out of the car, give them high fives, hugs,” said Turner.
But he always wanted to be a teacher.
“My mother taught in the district for almost 40 years, four of my aunts were teachers. It is in my blood,” he said.
His dream was put on hold when his mom became sick and he had to take care of her.
“I took off the last few years of school, knowing she didn't have much time left on this earth,” said Turner.
Now, he’s fulfilling a promise to his mother. He’s going back to school, thanks to the Teacher Diversity Pipeline Program.
The purpose of the program is to assist teacher aides and teacher assistants in getting the necessary education and professional training to earn their teacher certification, and bring more educator diversity to Buffalo Public Schools.
“When I went to school, I had teachers of color at every grade level,” said Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Assembly majority leader.
BPS has been working with Buffalo State College, Empire State College and other partners in developing their strategy and curriculum.
Two-thirds of students in Buffalo Public Schools are minorities, while 87 percent of teachers are white.
“This is designed to begin to work towards changing that and getting things back to the way things used to be, getting more colored teachers in there,” said Peoples-Stakes.
Advocates argue that minority teachers may have a better connection and understanding of the cultural and racial backgrounds in the classroom. Peoples-Stokes says this can lead to improved academic performance in minority students, and hopefully some will be the teachers of the future.
“When you see teachers who look like yourself, that encourages you to think you can be a teacher,” she said.
The money for the pipeline pilot was secured in the 2018-2019 New York State budget that was passed at the end of March.
The curriculum is being finalized and advocates are trying to secure more money to serve more would-be-teachers.