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Tom Joyner Foundation Renews Winning Partnership with National Education Association

Tom Joyner Foundation Renews Winning Partnership with National Education Association


DALLAS, TEXAS - February 04, 2008 -

Tom Joyner, the nationally syndicated radio personality and philanthropist, today announced a new $1.1 million grant with the National Education Association to increase the number of fully certified teachers in minority and hard-to-staff schools across the country.

The Tom Joyner Foundation-National Education Association Teacher Licensure Scholarship Program will bring six new historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) on board as part of the program’s expansion: Alabama A&M University, Normal, Ala.; Howard University, Washington, D.C.; LeMoyne-Owen College, Memphis, Tenn.; Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, Miss.; Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Va.; and Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas.

In addition, the scholarship program will continue on the campuses of four HBCUs:  Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Cheyney, Pa.; Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga.; Harris- Stowe State University, St. Louis, Mo.; and Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, N.C.

Teachers can access scholarship applications for the participating schools from the Foundation website .

“We're excited to be working with the NEA again,” said Joyner, whose nationally syndicated four-hour, drive-time radio show is the nation's leading morning entertainment show. “Through this scholarship program, we are helping teachers gain the skills they need to prepare our students to fulfill their dreams and to better prepare students to go to college. We’re making a difference in these teachers’ lives and the lives of the children they teach.”

In 2005, the Foundation distributed $700,000 to seed the scholarship program. Over the last three years, the partnership has provided hundreds of minority teachers with funding and technical support for workshops, coursework, materials, individual tutoring and examination fees to prepare them to pass state licensing examinations. During Phase II, the goal is to assist upwards of 1,000 teachers in high-minority, urban and suburban school districts as they pursue full licensure.

Reg Weaver, president of the 3.2 million-member NEA, said joining forces with the Foundation has moved the “teacher testing gap” to the forefront of educational issues and is allowing the Foundation, NEA and HBCUs to work together to create programs and policies that will close that gap.
 
“As public schools in the U.S. become more ethnically diverse, the teacher population becomes less diverse,” said Weaver. “For minorities, one of the greatest barriers to earning a teaching license is the requirement to pass a state teacher licensure test. Although more than 60 percent of the minority teachers in this country are prepared at HBCUs, until now, no national organizations have put a plan into action to deal with this issue. Fortunately, the Foundation had the foresight to address this critical need in teacher preparation.”
 
Scholarship winners must commit to teach for a minimum of three years in certain identified communities, and must be currently employed as a teacher in a K-12 public school or currently enrolled in an accredited school of education to be eligible for participation in the program.

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About The Tom Joyner Foundation
The Tom Joyner Foundation (http://www.blackamericaweb.com/) was established in 1998 for the purpose of helping students continue their education at historically black colleges and universities across the nation. The foundation has raised more than $35 million to date for this single cause and helped thousands of deserving students. Since its inception, the foundation has assisted every HBCU, which is defined as “any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans.”

About NEA
The National Education Association (http://www.nea.org/) is the nation's largest professional employee organization. Its members include elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and college students preparing to teach. A leader in school reform, NEA believes that a quality education begins with a quality teacher in every classroom.

Contact: Melinda Anderson  (202) 822-7230