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For nearly 40 years, University of Phoenix has been helping working adults attain their education and career goals. To continue this support, we are providing 40 new full-tuition scholarships for those who are chasing dreams bigger than themselves.

This new scholarship program is another step toward meeting the needs of our communities through greater involvement in the key areas of education, health care and criminal justice.

On Monday, Dr. Steve Perry, CEO and Founder of Capital Preparatory Schools, Kimberly Worth, Washington DC’s 2009 Teacher of the Year and Byron Jones, CFO of Phoenix University joined Roland Martin on “NewsOne Now” to discuss UOPX new scholarship program and the need for more African American teachers in our classrooms.

When asked why it is critical to increase the numbers of African American teachers, Byron Jones told Martin, “It really hits home at what we need in the community.”

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Currently out of all of the teachers in the United States, only 2 percent are African American.  Jones explained the University of Phoenix wants to address this startling statistic, “The University of Phoenix School of Education is one of the largest educational schools in the country, and so we feel that we are primed to be able to offer these 40 scholarships to actually impact that number.”

Jones added,”We know it’s so important to have teachers of color in the classroom to actually mentor our students.”

Dr. Steve Perry is on the frontlines in the battle to educate our youth, said he had one Black male teacher until he reached graduate school who he later hired to teach at Capital Preparatory Schools.

“When you have an African American male who can teach, not just being Black and male” is not enough according to Perry. “It is important that our children, all children  understand that they could have access to individuals who are different from themselves or in some cases as in African American young men are the same as them.”

“To have more qualified African American male and female teachers in the classroom is vital,” said Perry. He also noted more teachers are obtaining their master’s degrees through online colleges and gave the University of Phoenix kudos as a great place to start equipping Black teachers to be successful in our community.

Kimberly Worth, Washington DC’s 2009 Teacher of the Year told Martin, African American teachers bring “consciousness” to the classroom. “We are conscious of what we represent in front of our students, we’re conscious of speaking the language of power and how that is interpreted by our students. They see us as a positive image, they see us as someone they can aspire to be, they see us as someone that takes community activism and giving back to our community something very essential and a part of our community, it’s a part of our culture.”

Worth explained, “we bring our culture to the classroom, which is so important because we allow children to say we can be excellent and maintain our culture, we don’t have to separate the two, we don’t have to assimilate, we don’t have to change who we are.”

“What we do in the classroom is give our students permission to be Black and excellent.”

Watch Roland Martin, host of “NewsOne Now,’ Dr. Steve Perry, Kimberly Worth and Byron Jones, CFO of the University of Phoenix discuss UOPX’s Road to Success Scholarship program in the video clip above.

For more information about the program or to register visit www.phoenix.edu/dream. You may also review the eligibility criteria for being considered for one of the 40 full-tuition scholarships UOPX will award in either education, health care or criminal justice.

Be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.

 Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.

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