New Program Aims to Close Diversity Gap for Durham Public Schools Teaching Force


DURHAM, NC – As the student population in America grows increasingly diverse, the teaching force has failed to keep pace. However, a new pilot program in Durham Public Schools (DPS) aims to close this diversity gap in the local teaching ranks.

The Durham Teaching Fellows program, a joint proposal from Durham Public Schools, local nonprofit Student U, and the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, will recruit and prepare current Durham Public Schools students of color who, upon completing college, will return to work for Durham Public Schools.

“The Durham Teaching Fellows program is a long-term solution to a systemic challenge: the majority of people entering the teaching profession do not reflect the diversity of our community,” said Dr. Pascal Mubenga, superintendent of Durham Public Schools. “We are making a commitment here at home, among today’s DPS students, to nurture a new generation of teachers.”

The 2018-2023 DPS Strategic Plan has explicitly stated its goal of attracting and retaining outstanding educators and staff, with the aim of increasing the Latinx teacher cohort to ten percent by 2023 (up from its current level of three percent). However, because of the low wages in the profession and the significant cost of higher education, potential teachers who are non-white are less likely to enter the teaching profession. Further efforts are required to pave the way for this dream to become a reality, and it is within this environment that the Durham Homegrown Teaching program will take root.  “While this is a long-term approach, and we have a long way to go in terms of Latinx representation among our educators, DPS’ Human Resources Department is thrilled to embark on this journey to attract and recruit students of color to careers in teaching,” said DPS Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Arasi Adkins.

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