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AACTE Congratulates Inaugural Recipients of Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Grants

AACTE is pleased to announce that the following 10 member institutions are part of the inaugural class of grantees under the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program (Hawkins Program):   

  • Bowie State University (MD)
  • California State University, Dominquez Hills
  • Florida International University
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver (CO)
  • Northeastern State University (OK)
  • Sam Houston State University (TX)
  • University of Hawai’i
  • University of Houston-Clear Lake (TX)
  • University of Texas at El Paso
  • William Paterson University of New Jersey

Twelve colleges and universities, announced this week by the U.S. Department of Education, were awarded more than $18 million to support and expand high-quality teacher preparation programs at institutions that serve many students of color. These grants address the teacher shortage and will further diversify the teacher workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Education, grantees were selected “based on their focus on key aspects of a high-quality teacher preparation pipeline, including evidence-based, comprehensive teacher preparation that emphasize classroom experience and mentorship.”

AACTE advocated for the creation of the Hawkins Program, which was authorized in 2008, and has consistently called for it to be funded during the last 14 years. Today, AACTE applauds Congress and the Biden Administration for funding the Hawkins Program to invest in colleges and universities that make the preparation of diverse teachers a priority. AACTE urges Congress to continue to fund the Hawkins Program at the highest possible level.

“We know that well-prepared teachers are the single most important factor impacting educational quality and student achievement, and that all students learn best when teachers reflect the diversity of their community and our nation,” said AACTE President & CEO Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D. “We celebrate our member institutions’ work and the support provided through the Hawkins Program. We also know that the need is much greater than 12 institutions and $18 million and we urge Congress to make expansion of this important program a priority.”

Grantees will use their awards to create and strengthen programs that address national and local needs for diverse, multilingual teachers in key specialization areas such as math, science, and special education. Grantees will address financial and other barriers that prevent individuals from becoming teachers and will place teacher candidates in high-need urban and rural schools.

The program is named for civil rights champion Rep. Augustus F. Hawkins (D-CA), who served in the California Assembly and for almost 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Hawkins authored Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, among many other pieces of legislation, and was a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus.

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