State launches Aspire to Educate program to diversify teaching force

The program is being piloted in Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania Department of Education, along with several college and university partners, is putting new emphasis on recruiting teachers of color by starting a program that seeks to identify potential recruits as early as freshman year in high school and offer them financial help to pursue post-secondary degrees. The new program, called Aspire to Educate (A2E), will be piloted in the Philadelphia School District. “We need to strengthen the pipeline for educators, particularly educators of color,” said Donald Generals, president of Community College of Philadelphia (CCP), where the news conference about the program’s launch was held. “I can’t say enough how important this will be for the city of Philadelphia.” Besides CCP, partners include Drexel, Temple, Arcadia, Cheyney, West Chester, and Cabrini Universities, all in the Philadelphia area. The program hopes to attract not only high school and college students into teaching, but also people with some college who now work in schools and career-changers who have bachelor’s degrees.