Issue in Urban Education - Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention
What is the issue?
“If we accept the notion that teachers shape the future of our country, then it follows that the needs of an increasing diverse democratic society will be best met by a teaching force that is proportionately, or at least representatively, diverse (Jorgenson 52).” Student diversity is significantly different than that in the teaching staff. Therefore, educational leaders must be able to identify methods to bridge this gap in teacher diversity so that students of all backgrounds can see adult role models and images of themselves in the classroom. Recruiting, developing, and retaining qualified minority teachers is an issue in urban education and is a practice that must be further enhanced for the benefit of all students. America, as a whole, is a very diverse nation, but it is not equally represented in our schools’ classrooms. The ethnic diversity of school-aged population is increasing while the teaching population’s ethnicity is becoming homogeneous. Increasing numbers of ethnically diverse students in the public schools create a corresponding need for well-prepared educators; educators who can understand, relate and communicate with their students within the context of their (the students’) cultures, native language, and communities. Minority students do not necessarily need a minority teacher to become educated, but diversity among teachers is important. Minority teachers bring positive images and varied perspectives to their students. New York City is the most populous city of the United States, with an estimated (2005) population of 8,213,839. “Throughout its history the city has been a major point of entry for immigrants,” and (currently) 36% of the city’s population is foreign born. Therefore, it is safe to assume that New York City is also a very large ethnically diverse metropolis. (Wikipedia)
“The Southern regional Education Board reports that there are nearly 18 million African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American students [who] attend elementary and secondary schools in the United States (Branch and Kritsonis).” And even with these statistics, the majority of school educators are non-representative of the students’ population. In schools with diverse enrollments, districts continue to experience a critical need for many teaching professionals. We must understand that quality teaching for a diverse student body relies on many factors, some of which are that there are not enough teachers who are experienced, qualified, or who just are not prepared.. Along with the issue of quality teaching is the issue of minority teachers retention. Many minority teachers leave the field within the first 5 years of working. Of these teachers, many report that their reason for leaving was little pay, or lack of respect within the work force (whether from students or co-workers). It might be beneficial to address these situations themselves, in order to solve the larger issue. A gap between the ethnic population of students and the ethnic population of educators exists, and it is not narrowing. It is crucial that the issues of recruitment, development, and retention of these minority teachers be addressed so that these professional can bring positive image and varied perspectives to the schools of the United States. “Districts must be willing and able to identify methods to recruit, develop, and retain minority teachers in all areas so that the needs of all children are met. (Branch and Kritsonis).”
National Agenda: Minority Teacher Recruitment, Development, and Retention For my “Issue in Urban Ed” paper, I chose to focus on minority teacher shortage. While doing research, I came upon the article underlined above and it spoke of everything I needed to know about the issue. Author, Robert Branch focuses on the growing minority teacher shortage and the problems that