Grant continues to support School of Urban Education teacher candidates

By Robert Boos
Posted March 5, 2020

A $406,000 grant that was awarded to the School of Urban Education (UED) at Metropolitan State University is now helping future teachers of color further along their journeys towards graduation and teacher licensure.

The Collaborative Urban and Greater Minnesota Educators of Color (CUGMEC) Grant awarded last year from the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) immediately went to work in the fall 2019 semester and paid out a total of nearly $25,000 for the student teaching credits for all UED students of color students who were in process of completing the teaching requirement.

In the spring 2020 semester, grant monies totaling more than $200,000 will be applied to paying for student teaching credits for all UED student teachers of color; covering the $275 edTPA fee; and tuition scholarships to cover six credits for each student teacher of color. One hundred twenty-nine future teachers of color will all receive some financial support through the grant in this semester.

Next semester, the UED expects to award more than $160,000 to further support our students’ journeys towards graduation and teacher licensure.

The grant will further be used to recruit and raise the number of teacher candidates who are of color or who are American Indian into the various teacher licensure programs offered by UED through supporting scholarship awards to pre-service teachers prior to and during student teaching, supporting these candidates to successfully complete and pass their licensure exams and the Educative Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA), and to hire a recruitment and induction coordinator.

“Traditional student teaching assignments, because they preclude employment, are a barrier to teacher candidates completing their programs and entering our schools as career educators,” said Metropolitan State University President Virginia Arthur. “This barrier disparately impacts the diverse communities who must be much better represented in the profession. The targeted grant from PELSB is a strategic enabler of our work to prepare more students of color and American Indian students to become teachers in Minnesota.”

This grant comes at a pivotal moment when Minnesota is facing a shortage of teachers of color and American Indian teachers. According to the 2019 Minnesota Teacher Supply and Demand Report published by the Minnesota Department of Education, the current teaching force in Minnesota is 96 percent white, while students of color and American Indian students make up 30 percent of the K-12 population. As shown by research, a diverse teaching force is an important lever to improving learning and for closing achievement gaps for students of color and American Indian students who stand at the margins.

With the help of this grant, UED will be able to increase its capacity to recruit, prepare, retain, support and graduate teacher candidates who are of color or who are American Indian, and meet the requirements for a Tier 3 license in Minnesota. In close partnership with school district partners and organizations, the School will provide flexible pathways for aspiring teachers of color and aspiring American Indian teachers to choose a career that makes a difference in the lives of students, families and communities across Minnesota.

The mission of UED is to prepare pre-service teachers of color and American Indian pre-service teachers for service in the Twin Cities and their inner ring suburbs. Metropolitan State University and the School of Urban Education are grateful for PELSB’s dedication to prepare urban teachers, particularly teachers of color and American Indian teachers.

School of Urban Education students who are fulfilling the requirement for teacher licensure may receive grant monies to cover the costs of their tuition. The student teaching requirement is typically the last requirement to be completed and consists of 8-9 credits, depending on licensure area. The average tuition cost is $2,104 for an undergraduate student and $3,304 at the graduate level.

These funding sources for UED student teachers are important to help alleviate the cost for what is essentially unpaid full-time teacher labor. Student teaching is an endeavor that can take 12 to 15 weeks of full-time work, and presents a huge barrier for many low-income students who are aspiring to become licensed teachers.

The PELSB grant was allocated through a highly competitive and rigorous evaluation process conducted by an external committee. In making this funding decision, PELSB relied on information submitted in the application proposals submitted by Minnesota-based colleges/universities with PELSB-approved teacher preparation programs.

The thoughtful, intentional, and strategic process of sharing insights from data—enrollment numbers, participation rates, licensure rates, and graduation rates—helped showcase Metropolitan State University’s vision and commitment to prepare teachers of color and American Indian teachers.

“We are well aware that we have laid a firm foundation to produce quality teachers, in particular teachers of color and American Indian teachers,” says George Omboga, Coordinator of Accreditation, Assessment and Reporting. “However, I do know that with increased capacity support, we can sustain, grow and continuously improve the urban teacher program to keep up with shifting market demands and workforce expectations, as well as attract new streams of grant support and help stretch academic resources further.”

Metropolitan State University, a member of Minnesota State, is the Twin Cities public, urban, comprehensive state university providing lifelong learning, and competitive academic and professional degree programs at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels.