ETTRICK, Va. -- Virginia State University (VSU) is offering Master of Education students free tuition if they commit to teaching in Richmond or Petersburg upon graduation.
"In the new residency program, students will earn a Master of Education within one year, while gaining real-world experience in a classroom under the supervision of a master's teacher," a Virginia State spokesperson wrote in an email. "Once the student earns the degree, they must commit to a full-time teaching position with their residency school division for an additional three years."
VSU is using a Virginia Department of Education grant to cover costs.
"The primary goal of the program is to increase the number of highly qualified teachers of color—particularly males of color," the email continued. "In addition to addressing the critical teacher shortage in Richmond and Petersburg—the program will provide Pre K-12 classrooms with culturally and linguistically diverse teachers."
Pew Research has revealed 7% of all teachers in America are Black. Less than 2% of educators are Black men.
A study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed Black students who have one Black teacher in elementary school are 13% more likely to enroll in college. The same study said Black students with two Black elementary teachers are 32% more likely to go to college.
Research also showed students of all backgrounds benefit from having a Black educator in the classroom starting at an early age.