OWENSBORO, KY. (WFIE) - The commonwealth of Kentucky wants more teachers of color in their classrooms.
They’re hoping by doing this, it will help their students succeed while also doing their part in responding to the Black Lives Matter movement.
All across America, companies and state leaders are finding ways to respond to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Kentucky leaders are using multiple platforms, including public education, to create change as they search for more educators of color.
“What’s going on across the country, in Lexington and places like that, it’s happening in our communities, but our school systems are microcosms of all those community challenges, “ said Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman.
Tiffany Smith is a teacher at Sutton Elementary in Owensboro. She tells 14 News it was the African American teachers she had that inspired her.
”There was one black teacher in our elementary school, and I wanted her, I wanted to be in her class," said Smith. “I was always in such awe of her, and I never really understood why maybe until now.”
“The data shows us that if an African American child has one teacher that looks like them by 3rd grade, they are 13 percent more likely to go to college," said Coleman. “If they have two, they are 32 percent more likely.”
The Lieutenant Governor is looking to work with local historically black colleges and universities to recruit more teachers of color.
She also is hoping to refund a program that could give them an incentive.
”The Kentucky Academy of Equity in Teaching, and it exists as a scholarship program to help with student loan repayment to recruit people of color into the classroom,” said Coleman.
”It’s that feeling of comfort, and familiarity, someone who looks like them," said Smith "It’s important for students who are not African Americans to see an African American in that role of leadership“.
The state is also looking at adding mandatory inclusion training and creating a space for students to have a say in the state’s education plans.
”It is public education’s job, to make sure we create opportunity, understanding, places for dialogue,” said Coleman.
The state has also made commitments in other areas in response to the black lives matter movement, including health care and police training.