NEA/Tom Joyner partnership launched

Dallas, Texas -- Tom Joyner, the nationally syndicated radio personality and philanthropist, today announced a partnership with the National Education Association (NEA) to distribute more than $700,000 to encourage minority teachers to complete their certification and ultimately teach minority children in urban, suburban, and rural public schools. The unprecedented program is designed to increase the number of fully certified minority teachers around the country.

"We're excited to be working with the NEA," said Joyner, the Foundation's chairman, whose daily, four-hour morning drive-time show is nationally syndicated in 115 markets, including Boston and New Bedford, reaching nearly 8 million listeners. "What we're trying to do is to make sure there are plenty of minority teachers out there. Over the years, we've learned that many teachers don't go on to complete their certification and they end up missing out on opportunities or leave the teaching profession completely. This partnership with NEA is a big step in making a difference in these teachers' lives, and the lives of the children they teach."

Reg Weaver, president of the 2.7-million member NEA, said partnering with the Foundation would go a long way toward supporting minority teachers by providing sorely needed resources to assist them in completing their certification.

"Fewer than 50 percent of African Americans pass teacher entrance exams," said Weaver. "To their credit, the Tom Joyner Foundation recognized this disparity and is stepping up to help more minority teachers reach their goal, while also assisting public schools by providing them with licensed teachers in  the  urban, suburban and rural classrooms where they are needed most. NEA is inspired and grateful to be a part of this venture. By investing in our teachers, the Foundation will help us create great public schools for every child."

The teachers will be able to take classes on the campuses of seven Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCUs): Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga.; Bowie State University, Bowie, Md.; Jackson State University, Jackson, Miss.; Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, N.C.; Cheyney State University, Cheyney, Penn.; Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tenn.; and Harris Stowe State College, St. Louis, Mo.

More information about the program and how to apply for grants is available online.

The program will be promoted on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and extensively by the NEA through its magazine that reaches 2.7 million readers. Additional correspondence will be distributed to public schools and state boards of education around the country.

To qualify for the program the teachers must be currently working in an urban, suburban or rural  public school with a  high percentage of minority students. The NEA will review applications and will refer them to the certification program at the closest participating HBCU. All applicants must commit to teach a minimum of three years in an affected urban, suburban or rural community as a condition of admission to the program.

The Tom Joyner Foundation has raised more than $25 million and helped some 80 colleges and thousands of deserving students who attend HBCUs. 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."