Education Majors Speak at MN State Legislature
Olivia Allery, news editor
Last week, three of Augsburg’s Education students, Higmo Ali, Citlali Flores and Amina Mohamed, spoke at the Minnesota legislature with the House’s Education policy committee. These students were advocating for the Increase Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers Act, which is currently being proposed for the fifth year in a row.
The Increase Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers Act is a bill currently in the Minnesota legislature. This bill aims to contribute to an environment of diversity and inclusion for teachers of color, as well as expanding opportunities for future educators of color for the betterment of students to come.
“This is an act for increasing teachers of color and we wanted to bring awareness and our point of view, as future educators, and what we want the legislature to do, that’s why we testified,” Ali told the Echo.
One major potential benefit of the bill is introducing teacher mentors for incoming teachers of color who are in the process of getting licensed. “After that 3-5 year intro period of getting a license, a lot of teachers will drop out,” Mohamed told the Echo. “So the act is to keep new teachers in the field for the long run which leads to more diversity in the teaching profession.”
The students all drew upon their own experiences in the education system when expressing the importance of bringing teachers of color into the education system. “In a classroom setting, you can have so many different students from all over the world, but at the end of the day, the teaching profession is mainly just white teachers,” said Mohamed. “Having students see representation and diversity and get to say ‘Oh, they look like me,’ would be something we need.”
The trio explained that this act would also be immensely helpful for education students like themselves, in the future if the bill was passed, particularly because of the bill’s promise to increase scholarships for students of color pursuing a degree in education. “The increase in scholarships is very helpful because a lot of future teachers, and specifically future teachers of color, come from immigrant families,” Flores told the Echo. “Like, a lot of us are first generation college students, and we don’t all have the same resources, or our parents didn’t go to college, so the increase in scholarships would be very helpful.”
The trio also hopes the changes made will carry on to future generations of students and educators alike. “If we get the help we need, we can use that help for our future students,” said Ali. “We just want that process to continue on and see how far this can go with our few years left of college.”
Ali, Flores and Mohamed are also all a part of the Augsburg Diversity in Education Club. This new group is meant to bring together education students and work for changes and diversity in both the Augsburg education department and the field as a whole. If you are interested in joining the Diversity in Education Club, please contact Ali at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.