NJEA Supports Educator Pipeline for High School Students

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NJEA Vice President Steve Beatty and NJEA Membership Director Jaime Valente visited with students from the Aspiring Educators program at William Paterson University. Through a partnership with the NJEA, local school districts, and a state-funded Minority Teacher Development Grant, the program, led by the College of Education, aims to open doors for local high school students to they view and pursue education as a career.

This year, 18 Passaic County high school students are working with education teacher Dr. David Fuentes as they earn college credit by following the foundations of multicultural education.

As part of their clinical experience, students also work as teaching assistants in the School of Continuing and Professional Education’s summer youth program.

“Programs like these promote the social mobility of our students, especially those from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds,” Fuentes said. “They build dignity and respect for the profession to help our students recognize how they can become agents of change in their communities as future educators. By studying the social and political contexts of school, we are better prepared to teach the children of others.

Valente discussed the NJEA’s goal of diversifying the teacher pool. “It’s so important that students can see people in front of the class that they can relate to,” he said. “We need to move this social justice work forward. Students need to see themselves in their educators.

The NJEA presented Dean Amy Ginsburg with $15,000 with a pledge of another $15,000 to continue supporting the program. NJEA also invited students from the program to attend the NJEA convention in November.

Vice President Steve Beatty pledged to continue supporting programs like Aspiring Educators.

“We need to make sure we’re nurturing the next generation of educators to ensure New Jersey schools remain the best in the country,” Beatty said. “All those involved in education must come together to support our future colleagues in the most important and satisfying profession in the world.”

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