Dear United States Department of Education,
I believe an invaluable strategy to recruit, develop, and retain teachers and leaders of color is to create cohorts of high school seniors who are interested in education and allow them to attend professional education organizations. Once these young and brilliant leaders see the commitment, professionalism, and zeal of educators who look like them – the fire will catch on naturally.
Many students of color are influenced daily by educators of color. Allow them to “step into the shoes” of an educator – a professional who is taken seriously and one who advocates for his/her profession with the utmost respect. Allow students of color to help create updated “curriculum” and “workshops” which reflect them and their lives as valuable and human. I believe this will breathe life into the teaching profession once the stigma of “whining teachers” are lifted and removed.
Jalissa Bates, M.A.
Louisiana State University Upward Bound Instructor
NCTE Louisiana Policy Analyst