FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky's oldest historically Black colleges may soon take major strides towards getting more Black teachers into schools.
State Bill 270 creates a portal between Simmons College and Kentucky State University, clearing the way for certifying teachers.
It will also create a project with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to address health, wellness and food insecurities in African American neighborhoods around Simmons.
Simmons President, Rev. Dr. Kevin Cosby called the move monumental and said it will go a long way towards helping students connect better with educators who better represent them.
“Data shows that one of the great lackings in public education is the absence of the African American teacher and in particular the absence of the African American male teacher and this will be our area of specialization,” Cosby explained.
Martell Lilley is wrapping up his 4 years at Simmons College of Kentucky where he studied business.
Going to an historically Black college meant a great deal to the young man from Detroit who said he had one, single, black school teacher before arriving at high school.
“The image of having someone in front of the classroom who can represent and speak the same language and understand the background of what African Americans go through would be very beneficial for the upcoming youth,” he said.
Lawmakers are halfway to potentially adding to the ranks with SB 270 passing the Senate last week.
Cosby said this will help all students appreciate and have a better understanding of diversity.
“It's huge – it’s a major deal for Simmons College but more importantly it's a major deal for education in our city and our Commonwealth,” he said. “This is something that's going to benefit not just black kids but all kids in our public schools.”
The bill now heads to the Kentucky House.