There are significant needs for qualified teachers in all of New York state’s high poverty, urban areas. This need is further compounded by the high rate of teacher turnover in urban districts, what some have termed the “revolving door,” due to new teachers' lack of preparation for the challenges of urban schools.
Cortland’s Urban Recruitment of Educators (C.U.R.E.) Scholarship and Program works to address the need for highly qualified urban teachers by offering scholarships ($4,000) to students who are willing to commit to two years of teaching in an urban area upon graduation.
The goals of the C.U.R.E. Scholarship and Program are:
- To prepare the next generation of teachers with the skills and understanding to be effective urban teachers;
- To improve the quality of education for New York state children through strong teachers.
Since 1988, more than 100 students have been admitted to this highly competitive scholarship program, which currently counts 63 graduates who have taught for at least two years in high-need schools throughout the state. The C.U.R.E. program's graduates are excited about the difference they are making.
Consider the words of Tameka Stephenson, a 2007 C.U.R.E. graduate, who is teaching in a high-poverty school in New York City. Tameka recently remarked during a follow-up visit, “I love what I’m doing, even though it can be stressful at times. It’s the little things, like when they say ‘I love my teacher’ — which a student had mentioned in class that day — that make it so worthwhile. I teach at the school I went to, around the corner from where my grandmother still lives. I still can’t believe it worked out this way.”
Brian Barrett is an assistant professor in the Foundations and Social Advocacy Department and serves as the C.U.R.E. program’s graduate research coordinator. His scholarly work has been published in journals, including Teaching and Teacher Education and Urban Education and focuses on urban education, teacher education and the sociology of education. Barrett particularly appreciates the opportunity to visit with C.U.R.E. graduates who serve as exemplary urban educators in their own classrooms by maintaining high expectations and enacting culturally relevant pedagogy to promote their students’ academic success.