The gap between minority teachers—about 6 percent—and minority school children—about 24 percent—is widening in Washington. As part of a move to remedy this situation, 176 high school and community college students attended the College of Education’s Future Teachers of Color conference at Washington State University in mid-February.

The conference has become very popular statewide, says Johnny Jones, the college’s director of recruitment and retention and coordinator of the program. The program has a waiting list of 120 students.

Since the FTOC program was created at WSU in 1994, undergraduate enrollment in the college has increased from five to more than 100. Fifteen FTOC graduates are now teaching in Seattle, Renton, Tri-Cities, and other districts in the state.

The program has received funding from several foundations, as well as from WSU regent Ken Alhadeff (’70 Gen. St.) and the estate of the late Bellevue music teacher James A. Taylor (’63 Music).