The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) and Illinois State University (ISU) are launching a groundbreaking partnership to build a more diverse teacher workforce and create a clear pathway for Black and Latinx CPS students to become CPS teachers.
The rich, cultural diversity of CPS students is one of that district’s greatest strengths, and more teachers who reflect the diversity of Chicago and the students they serve are needed. Research shows that all students benefit cognitively, socially, and emotionally when they have teachers of color, but for students of color in particular, having a teacher of the same race or ethnicity also helps improve attendance, test scores, and graduation rates.
The most diverse pool of potential teacher talent is enrolled in CPS schools right now. About 10 percent of CPS high school students have expressed a serious interest in teaching, but not nearly enough are following through on that dream due to many of the barriers common to first-generation college students, including financial obstacles and an uncertainty about how to successfully navigate the path between high school graduation and a teaching career. As part of the district’s commitment to equity, the Teach Chicago Tomorrow program will support students who have an interest in teaching by providing them with a clear pathway through college and ultimately to a job teaching students in a CPS school.
The program’s first cohort, which will include up to 100 CPS seniors from the Class of 2021, will attend enrichment programs next summer before enrolling at CCC for their first two years of college coursework. These students will then transfer to ISU and complete their bachelor’s degree in education at satellite classrooms in Chicago, and then subsequently receive an early offer for a teaching position with CPS. It is estimated that by 2025, Teach Chicago Tomorrow will graduate its first group of 100 new teachers, moving the district towards its long-term goal to triple the number of CPS grads hired to more than 500 annually.