Thomas W. Durso
McDaniel College, Westminster, Maryland
McDaniel College
FUTURE EDUCATOR—Nicolette Brookman is in the inaugural class of 11 Howard County students receiving  Teachers for Tomorrow scholarships. Like her peers, she has committed to working in the local school district post-graduation.

Despite increasing diversity among the nation’s schoolchildren, they continued to be educated by a teaching corps that remains overwhelmingly white.

McDaniel College, seeking to boost teacher diversity and encourage greater higher ed attendance among low-income students, partnered last year with the Howard County Public School System on an innovative initiative to train educators and employ them in the Maryland district’s classrooms.

The Teachers for Tomorrow program, also known as “T4T,” offers a full McDaniel scholarship to academically successful, low-income Howard County students who are eligible for Pell and state grants.

National trends link

A 2015 report by the Albert Shanker Institute indicated that the number of black teachers dropped between 2002 and 2012 in nine cities, including Boston, New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

In exchange, the students agree to work for the school district for three years immediately after graduating from McDaniel. They will intern and do their student teaching in the county’s public schools.

“This was not a one-off diversity type of issue,” says Florence Hines, vice president for enrollment management, noting that McDaniel’s student body comprises about one-third students of color, one-third Pell-eligible students, and one-third first-generation students. “This was very much in keeping with our mission.”

The first cohort of 11 students entered McDaniel for the fall 2016 semester. The individuals are honor society members, athletes, actors and musicians. They hold leadership positions in a variety of student clubs, and work and volunteer in their communities.

The nine new students chosen for T4T will begin matriculating at McDaniel this fall.

Despite the program’s innovation and promise, its existence is in question. Renee Foose, the Howard County superintendent of schools who helped launch the partnership, resigned in May amid ongoing disagreements with some members of the school board.

“We don’t have 100 percent certainty of what the future of this program is,” Hines says. “We’re taking it one cohort at a time.”