Gov. Roy Cooper

Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper announced this week Executive Order No. 113 that establishes a Task Force focused on matters of equity and inclusion in education.

The governor highlighted the Executive Order at the DRIVE Summit: Developing a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education, co-hosted by the Office of the Governor, the North Carolina Business Committee on Education (NCBCE), and The Hunt Institute.

“Diversity at the front of the classroom improves student success across the board and helps our state fill a significant gap in the number of qualified teachers we have versus how many we need,” Cooper said on Monday. “With today’s Executive Order and summit, North Carolina is leading the charge on recruiting, developing, supporting and retaining diverse talent.”

In North Carolina, the traditional K-12 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. Research shows that all students, particularly students of color, are more successful in school when they have a diverse teaching population leading their classrooms. Representation and inclusion lead to equity for all students.

The Summit served as the first step towards developing a statewide plan of action to ensure that there is equitable representation of educators across North Carolina. It brought together educators, school and district leaders, educator preparation programs, philanthropists, parents, advocates, and policymakers to share ideas and to begin to develop strategies to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of our educator workforce.

“Education leaders across the country must broaden the focus of equity in education to include supporting, investing and empowering educators of color,” said The Hunt Institute President & CEO Javaid Siddiqi. “The Hunt Institute is pleased to be a part of the DRIVE Summit along with the Governor’s Office and NCBCE to help lift up these important conversations and focus on strategies that advance educator diversity in North Carolina.”

“Educator diversity is important if we want to prepare all our students to be successful in a more diverse work environment,” added Caroline Sullivan, executive director of the North Carolina Business Committee on Education. “NCBCE is happy to support efforts that would increase the equitable representation of educators across the state.”

Executive Order No. 113 calls for the Task Force to submit a report to the Office of the Governor that accomplishes the following:

♦ Assesses the state’s progress in increasing educator diversity in K-12 public schools;
♦ Identifies short, mid-range, and long-term strategies to increase educator diversity;
♦ Identifies stakeholders, assets, and sources of funding that can be leveraged to recruit, retain, develop, and support more educators of colors;
♦ Proposes metrics and standards by which the Governor can evaluate the state’s success in achieving its goals under the Plan and improving recruitment, retention, development, and support of educators of colors; and
♦ Identifies what recommendations for increasing educator diversity in the state should be prioritized and addressed.

The task force will be comprised of at least 15 members appointed by the Governor. Members shall include parents, educators, administrators, education advocates, representatives of state and local government, representatives from the University of North Carolina system and North Carolina Community College System, and employers with a presence in North Carolina.

The summit and executive order are an important part of Cooper’s work to recruit and retain good teachers. In addition to these actions and pushing for a significant teacher pay raise, the Governor successfully fought to re-start the Teaching Fellows program that offers scholarships to talented young students who pledge to teach after college, pushed for the restoration of Master’s pay, and has recommended budgets to increase classroom supply resources and school safety measures.

Read the Executive Order HERE