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Elementary education program recognized for driving greater teacher diversity, selective admissions requirements

Elementary education program recognized for driving greater teacher diversity, selective admissions requirements

February 15, 2021 at 3:06pm

FIU’s undergraduate elementary education program is a national and statewide leader in driving greater teacher diversity in the community and maintaining selective academic admissions requirements, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality.

FIU is among only 58 of 1,256 teacher preparation programs to earn the highest distinction nationally by NCTQ, a non-partisan, non-profit research and policy institution. The university’s elementary education program also is only one of three programs in Florida to earn the highest marks in the NCTQ report, Teacher Prep Review: Program Diversity and Admissions (2021).

Specifically, NCTQ gave FIU an A+ rating in program diversity and an A rating for its admissions requirements.

Programs that earn this distinction both maintain sufficient academic standards for admission and enroll a cohort of future teachers that is both more racially diverse than the current teacher workforce in their state and reflects the racial diversity of their local community.

“Florida’s school districts have always relied on FIU to deliver highly qualified educators,” said Laura Dinehart, senior associate dean of FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education and executive director of the School of Education and Human Development. “Our graduates not only reflect the diverse fabric of the community but they are capable of representing the very best of FIU because of the rigor of our program.”

Research from the STEM Transformation Institute, an arm of the School of Education and Human Development, has found that in many cases students tend to perform better and are more likely to believe in their own ability if they are taught by an educator who looks like them.

“We know that both teacher diversity and maintaining high academic standards for entry into teacher preparation are critical,” said Kate Walsh, NCTQ President. “Rather than lower admissions standards in a misplaced belief that it will lead to more diverse enrollment, teacher prep programs have to be intentional and strategic in their efforts to recruit and support aspiring teachers of color, and we are excited to highlight programs like Florida International University that are doing just that.”

Educators who graduate from FIU have made a significant impact at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, where 35% of teachers are FIU graduates. Two-time FIU alumna Teresa Murphy recently became the 21st FIU alumnus to be named the district’s Francisco R. Walker Teacher of the Year. The 2021 Miami-Dade County Principal of the Year is Raphael Villalobos, an FIU doctoral student.

In 2020, NCTQ recognized FIU’s elementary education program for its strong commitment to evidence-based reading instruction. It was one of only 15 undergraduate elementary programs to earn an A+ for exemplary coursework and only one of two in the state of Florida.

For more on the NCTQ report and to explore the findings and data for Florida International University visit: