A task force including four representatives from the Triad will focus on improving on inequity and inclusion in North Carolina classrooms.
The Task Force to Develop a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education, or DRIVE, will work to create more inclusive classrooms.
“What research shows us is for many of our students of color specifically, but quite honestly for all students, our students learn a great deal more, they’re highly motivated, they’re encouraged and supported, when they have someone standing in the classroom that looks like they do specifically for our students of color,” said Anthony Graham, chair of the task force.
“That provides an avenue and outlet for students to see themselves in a more robust manner,” said Cherrel Miller Dyce, who was also named to the commission.
In North Carolina K-12 schools, the student population is roughly 50 percent students of color, but only 20 percent of the public school educator workforce is comprised of educators of color.
“When I first started teaching, there were only about five educators of color on a staff of 40 plus,” explained third grade teacher Sabrina Peacock. “It has been a challenge. It’s been one that’s been noticed, has been talked about, and now is definitely going to be improved.”
Peacock teaches at Oak Hill Elementary and will serve on the task force after being appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper.
“This is the first time that I’ve seen this level of investment at the state level,” Graham said.
The group of educators, parents and administrators will examine ways to recruit and retain educators of color to lead classrooms in the future.
“Are we properly funding our K-12 schools? How are we funding our K-12 schools? Are we funding them in an inequitable way, but then expecting them to really work miracles? There are some things we have to pay attention to from the funding side,” Graham explained.
The task force will submit a plan to the governor at the start of next year, focusing their report on short and long term goals, and how schools will be able to measure progress.
“It does make a difference when you have someone who looks like you standing up in front of you and teaching you,” Peacock said.