Kentucky State University and Simmons College of Kentucky recently signed a letter of intent to explore areas of collaboration in response to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s call for the recruitment and training of more Black teachers.
“We are excited that this moment can be a time when we can enhance the freedom of others,” Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II said. “Kentucky’s only private HBCU and Kentucky’s only public HBCU joining hands to work together for the betterment of the Commonwealth and the nation in which we live.”
President Brown pointed to clear research that shows the presence of Black teachers impacts the success of Black students at all levels of education.
“Who is best at teaching an eagle how to fly like an eagle?” Simmons President Rev. Dr. Kevin W. Cosby said. “We need to put some eagles in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and the schools across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
President Brown used the opportunity to bust some myths about HBCUs, including alleged lack of diversity.
“Let me be clear for those of you that think HBCUs only have black students and black faculty,” President Brown said. “HBCUs are the nation’s most diverse institutions in the nation. Kentucky State is rated as the nation’s most diverse.”
President Brown also noted increased equity for African-Americans in cities with thriving HBCUs.
“There is still a critical need for these institutions as we morph and respond to change in society,” President Brown said.
Other officials present for the press conference include Simmons Executive Vice President Dr. Frank Smith, Dr. Nancy Seay of Simmons, JCPS Superintendent Dr. Martin Pollio, National Baptist Convention of America President Dr. Samuel C. Tolbert Jr. and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.