A parent-and-educator-led task force working to diversify North Carolina’s teacher workforce kicked off a statewide tour this week to learn about local initiatives.

The task force is called DRIVE, which stands for Developing a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education. It was established by Gov. Roy Cooper in 2019. 

The group’s tour began in Edgecombe County with a networking event for educators of color on Thursday.

DRIVE Chair Anthony Graham says the tour is really a chance for task force members to learn more about local efforts to support teachers of color. 

“We intentionally wanted to highlight and uplift initiatives and programs in the northeast, [and the] north central region of the state,” he said. “So it's really less about us sharing our work, if you will, but us providing a platform for our task force members to hear about work in Edgecombe communities.”

Graham said the task force will be thinking about how to financially support the effective programs they hear about along this tour.

"How do we now invest in it in such a way that we can scale it across the state of North Carolina and replicate what we're learning from Edgecombe? And then, secondly, how do we ensure that these programs become part of the DNA of the state of North Carolina so that they become systemic in the work that we do, as opposed to being contingent or dependent upon an individual?" he said. 

Graham encourages educators, families, faith-based leaders, and business leaders to attend future visits. The DRIVE Task Force will stop in Pembroke in May, Cullowhee in September, and Winston-Salem in November.

Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.

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