The Office of the Governor, the North Carolina Business Committee for Education and The Hunt Institute held the DRIVE Summit at the N.C. State Talley Student Union on Dec. 10, 2019.
The Office of the Governor, the North Carolina Business Committee for Education and The Hunt Institute held the DRIVE Summit (Developing a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education) on Dec. 10 at the N.C. State Talley Student Union.
Elon University’s School of Education served as a sponsoring partner, with Cherrel Miller Dyce, associate professor of education and director of Intercultural Education, serving on the planning committee for the summit.
The stated goal for the summit is for the state to move toward a new landscape in recruiting, developing, supporting and retaining educators of color in North Carolina. More than 300 attendees participated in the summit.
As outlined in the Issue Brief, North Carolina’s public school student population became “majority-minority” for the first time in 2015-16 as the number of students of color exceeded the number of white students. Data from the 2018-19 school year indicates that while 53 percent of students are nonwhite, this is true of only 22 percent of educators.
Research shows that all students, and particularly students of color, are more successful when they have diverse and representative teachers leading their classrooms,” writes Gov. Roy Cooper in the summit’s welcome letter. “Unfortunately, North Carolina has not been able to develop and recruit enough teachers of color into our public schools.”
The day before the summit, the governor established by executive order a DRIVE Task Force “to tackle the issue and measure goals to get the kind of workforce we need for every child to have a chance.” The executive order can be found online here.
John B. King, Jr, former U.S. Secretary of Education and now the president and CEO of The Education Trust, was the keynote speaker. King’s strategies for building a pipeline of educators of color include:
- Data transparency. “We can’t solve the problem if we can’t see the problem,” King states.
- Improve the pipeline with investments in HBCUs and community colleges
- To retain teachers, learn more about the “invisible tax” on teachers of color. Diversity is everybody’s responsibility.
- Focus school climate on equity
In the afternoon of the DRIVE Summit, professionally-aligned breakout sessions were held for educators, school leaders, human resource professionals, superintendents, educator prep programs, and advocates, nonprofits, and parents to hear from leaders and engage in goal setting. Following the breakout sessions, the groups, with the addition of philanthropists and legislators, worked to establish actionable goals to improve educator diversity across the educator continuum.
According to Latanya Pattillo, teacher advisor to Gov. Cooper, “ensuring that there is representation in our schools of education is just one step in ensuring that our future educators are prepared to create an environment of success for our students. As the student demographics in the state change, our schools of education must change with them. Elon University’s support of the DRIVE Summit is a testament to their willingness to engage in the important task of recruiting, preparing and supporting educators of color and we look forward to continued partnership”.