ETFO members standing together
Photo by Christine Cousins
FEATURE

Generation Black: You're Next!

Punita Bhardwaj

On October 1,2022 ETFO held a public symposium entitled Generation Black: You’re Next! to address barriers to the recruitment of Black teacher candidates and the retention of Black educators. ETFO partnered with Black organizations and educational stakeholders to identify strategies to improve the representation of Black people in public education. The following partners participated in Generation Black: You’re Next!: Network for the Advancement of Black Communities (NABC), Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators (ONABSE), Ontario Teachers’ Federation and Ontario Principals’ Council.

Over 150 participants attended Generation Black in person, alongside those who viewed the livestream of panels and the keynote presentation from home. The panels addressed the foundation of why representation matters and Black excellence within the education sector and presented the voices of parents, students and community. Keynote Wes Williams (Maestro Fresh Wes), spoke about the impact of educators on the lives of students and communities. Throughout the day, seminars were presented by educational stakeholders such as Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators (ONABSE), the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and the Ontario Principals’ Council.

The symposium gave rise to calls to action to address the significant underrepresentation of Black teachers in public education. Generation Black: You’re Next! Calls to Action include:

  • Government provides financial incentives to faculties of education to recruit Black teachers
  • Faculties of education develop intentional recruitment initiatives for Black teachers
  • Faculties of education hire more Black teacher secondees
  • School boards encourage, promote and support Black teacher secondees
  • Faculties of education to collect race-based data of teacher candidates applying to programs and staff
  • Mandatory race-based data collection of candidates applying to school boards for teaching positions
  • School boards must analyze race-based data to inform their hiring practices and develop policies and programs that support the retention of Black teachers

Another outcome of Generation Black: You’re Next! is an ETFO-sponsored public campaign to create broad discussion, amplify our message, engage the Black community, create awareness about opportunities for Black educators, encourage Black students to go into teaching and advance the goals of ETFO and our Generation Black stakeholders.

Punita Bhardwaj is a member of ETFO executive staff.