Quijano, Lampitt & Reynolds-Jackson Bill to Establish ‘Male Teachers of Color Mentorship Pilot Program’ Passes Assembly Committee

To ensure that New Jersey’s teacher workforce is as diverse as its student body, Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Pamela Lampitt and Verlina Reynolds-Jackson sponsor legislation to establish the “Male Teachers of Color Mentorship Pilot Program.” The Assembly Education Committee released the bill on Thursday.

The bill (A-4595), would establish a three-year pilot program developed and operated by the Commissioner of Education. The Commissioner would select 10 male students of color in their final year of an educator preparation program at one of New Jersey’s public higher education institutions and pair them with 10 male teachers of color from school districts throughout the State.

The teachers would serve as mentors to the students through their final year of school and, if the student is hired by the participating district, the first two years of their career. In exchange for their mentorship, the teachers would receive a stipend of $5,000 for each year they participated in the pilot program.

School districts that participate in the program would be required to conduct a review of the student’s performance and, after their graduation, make a good faith effort to hire them should that review be favorable.

Upon the bill’s committee approval, Assemblywomen Quijano (D-Union), Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington) and Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) issued the following joint statement:

“Representation in the classroom matters. Only about 16 percent of all faculty and staff members at New Jersey’s public schools are non-white despite the fact that 56 percent of our students are racial or ethnic minorities. Our students of color should not have to go through their entire K-12 education without having a teacher who looks like them.

“Diversity in our teacher workforce is critical to addressing the needs of all our students. We have to take action to ensure that our schools reflect the diversity of our communities. By empowering aspiring male teachers of color with meaningful mentorship opportunities under this pilot program, we can make diversity a priority and put qualified male teachers of color in classrooms throughout New Jersey.”