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Kean University

Kean President Addresses Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference

Kean President Repollet with other panelists and the moderator for a Congressional Black Caucus panel.

On the panel were (L-R) Michael Smith, CEO of AmeriCorps; Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D.; and Lezli Baskervielle, J.D., president of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. Fedrick C. Ingram, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers, was the moderator.

Kean University President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D., spoke today on a Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference panel in Washington, D.C. about the importance of building a pipeline to boost the number of Black teachers across the country.

Recalling his years as a teacher, principal, school superintendent and New Jersey’s commissioner of education, Repollet said, “addressing inequities in Black education has been a cornerstone of my life’s work. 

I understand the interrelationship between education and economics, and learned first-hand, the importance of seeing people who look like me working in the positions I wanted for myself.”

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which hosted the panel, noted that educators of color are leaving the classroom at higher rates, disproportionately affecting disadvantaged schools and schools serving minority communities.

Repollet praised a pilot program from the New Jersey Department of Education that added flexibility to the teacher certification process in the state.

“For too long, teaching candidates who are incredibly talented and dedicated to students have been excluded from the teacher workforce because of rules based on outdated ways of thinking,” Repollet said.

He spoke about his efforts at Kean to diversify the faculty through such programs as the Equity in Action Postdoctoral Fellowship, as well as Kean programs that encourage Black and brown students as young as pre-K to plan on attending college.

“We have to level the playing field of higher education to ensure that all students have a chance at earning their degrees,” Repollet said. “It’s time to tear down the walls that stifle the ability of Black people from all backgrounds to teach, lead and thrive.”

The theme of the Annual Legislative Conference is Advancing Our Purpose. Elevating Our Power

As part of the two-day conference, the documentary, Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America was screened. It chronicles the journey around the United States of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Jeffery Robinson, examining the history of white supremacy and discrimination in the U.S., from slavery to the present.