The teaching profession needs more males and teachers of color

13 Nov

Moi believes that good and gifted teachers come in all colors, shapes, sizes, and both genders. Teachers are often role models and mentors which is why a diverse teaching profession is desirable. Huffington Post has the interesting article, Few Minority Teachers In Classrooms, Gap Attributed To Bias And Low Graduation Rates which discusses why there are fewer teachers of color in the profession.

Minority students will likely outnumber white students in the next decade or two, but the failure of the national teacher demographic to keep up with that trend is hurting minority students who tend to benefit from teachers with similar backgrounds.

Minority students make up more than 40 percent of the national public school population, while only 17 percent of the country’s teachers are minorities, according to a report released this week by the Center for American Progress.

“This is a problem for students, schools, and the public at large. Teachers of color serve as role models for students, giving them a clear and concrete sense of what diversity in education–and in our society–looks like,” the report’s authors write. “A recent review of empirical studies also shows that students of color do better on a variety of academic outcomes if they’re taught by teachers of color.”

Using data from the 2008 Schools and Staffing Survey, the most recent data available, researchers found that more than 20 states have gaps of 25 percentage points or more between the diversity of their teachers and students.

California yielded the largest discrepancy of 43 percentage points, with 72 percent minority students compared with 29 percent minority teachers. Nevada and Illinois had the second and third largest gaps, of 41 and 35 percentage points, respectively.

In a second report, the CAP notes that in more than 40 percent of the nation’s public schools, there are no minority teachers at all. The dearth of diversity in the teaching force could show that fewer minorities are interested in teaching or that there are fewer minorities qualified to teach.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/11/few-minority-teachers-in-_n_1089020.html?ref=email_share

The lack of diversity in the teaching profession has been a subject of comment for years.

In 2004, the Council for Exceptional Children wrote in the article,New Report Says More Diverse Teachers Reduces the Achievement Gap for Students of Color:

Representation of Diverse Teachers in the Workforce

The number of diverse teachers does not represent the number of diverse students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2003):

·         In 2001-2002, 60 percent of public school students were White, 17 percent Black, 17 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native.

·         According to 2001 data, 90 percent of public school teachers were White, 6 percent Black, and fewer than 5 percent of other races.

·         Approximately 40 percent of schools had no teachers of color on staff.

Additional trends reflecting the dispersion of diverse teachers include:

·  The percentage of diverse teachers does not approximate the percentage of diverse students in any state with a large population of diverse residents except Hawaii. The District of Columbia is also an exception.

·  The larger the percentage of diverse students, the greater the disparity with the percentage of diverse teachers.

·  Proportional representation of diverse teachers is closest in large urban school districts.

·  Diverse teachers tend to teach in schools that have large numbers of students from their own ethnic groups.

·  Diverse teachers are about equally represented in elementary and secondary schools. In addition, statistical projections show that while the percentage of diverse students in public schools is expected to increase, the percentage of diverse teachers is not expected to rise unless the nation and states take action.

The Impact of Diverse Teachers on Student Achievement
Increasing the percentage of diverse teachers not only impacts the social development of diverse students, it also is directly connected to closing the achievement gap of these students. Research shows that a number of significant school achievement markers are positively affected when diverse students are taught by diverse teachers, including attendance, disciplinary referrals, dropout rates, overall satisfaction with school, self-concept, cultural competence, and the students’ sense of the relevance of school. In addition, studies show that

o    Diverse students tend to have higher academic, personal, and social performance when taught by teachers from their own ethnic group.

o    Diverse teachers have demonstrated that when diverse students are taught with culturally responsive techniques and with content-specific approaches usually reserved for students with gifts and talents, their academic performance improves significantly.

o    Diverse teachers have higher performance expectations for students from their own ethnic group.

Other advantages of increasing the number of diverse teachers are: more diverse teachers would increase the number of role models for diverse students; provide opportunities for all students to learn about ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity; enrich diverse students learning; and serve as cultural brokers for students, other educators, and parents. http://www.cec.sped.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&CONTENTID=6240&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CAT=none

A diverse teaching corps is needed not only to mirror the society, but because the continuing family meltdown has broadened the duties of schools.

This portion of the comment is not politically correct. If you want politically correct, stop reading. Children, especially boys, need positive male role models. They don’t need another “uncle” or “fiancée” who when the chips are down cashes out. By the way, what is the new definition of “fiancée?” Is that someone who is rented for an indefinite term to introduce the kids from your last “fiancée” to?

Back in the day, “fiancée” meant one was engaged to be married, got married and then had kids. Nowadays, it means some one who hangs around for an indeterminate period of time and who may or may not formalize a relationship with baby mama. Kids don’t need someone in their lives who has as a relationship strategy only dating women with children because they are available and probably desperate. What children, especially boys, need are men who are consistently there for them, who model good behavior and values, and who consistently care for loved ones. They don’t need men who have checked out of building relationships and those who are nothing more than sperm donors.

This Washington Post article made me think about the importance of healthy male role models in a child’s life. This article is about a good male role model, a hero. Number of BlackMale Teachers Belies Their InfluenceThe reason that teachers like Will Thomas are needed, not just for African American kids, is because the number of households headed by single parents, particularly single women is growing. Not all single parent households are unsuccessful in raising children, but enough of them are in crisis that society should be concerned. The principle issues with single parenting are a division of labor and poverty. Two parents can share parenting responsibilities and often provide two incomes, which lift many families out of poverty. Families that have above poverty level incomes face fewer challenges than families living in poverty. Still, all families face the issue of providing good role models for their children. As a society, we are like the Marines, looking for a few good men.

The purpose of this comment is not that boys and girls cannot learn from teachers of either sex. The point is too many children are being raised in single parent homes and they need good role models of both sexes to develop. That brings me back to Will Thomas and The Washington Post story. Mr. Thomas is not only a good teacher, but a positive role model for both his boy and girl students. We need more teachers like Mr. Thomas.

I have never met an illegitimate child. I have met plenty of illegitimate parents. People that are so ill-prepared for the parent role that had they been made responsible for an animal, PETA would picket their house. We are at a point in society where we have to say don’t have children you can’t care for. There is no quick, nor easy fix for the children who start behind in life because they are the product of two other people’s choice, whether an informed choice or not.  All parents should seek positive role models for their children. For single mothers who are parenting boys, they must seek positive male role models to be a part of their son’s life. Boys and girls of all ages should think before they procreate and men should give some thought about what it means to be a father before they become baby daddy.

This brings me to an opinion piece in the Washington Post by Yvette Jackson of the National Urban Alliance in the Answer Sheet, a column normally written by Valerie Strauss. In How toHelp African American Males In School: Treat Them Like Gifted Students Ms. Jackson opines:

Damaging and pervasive chasms grow between teachers and students when teachers feel unprepared to meet the needs of students of color or economically disadvantaged students. Making cultural connections and strengthening teacher-student relationships are critical to making learning meaningful and relevant to students.

Finally, students must be enabled to be more active in their own education. Schools should give students opportunities to participate in teachers professional development aimed at enriching curriculum, improving teaching and expanding the range of materials students create.

Ms. Jackson is correct that having high expectations is essential along with discipline and structure. Still, what she fails to recognize is only one part of the equation, which is education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s) and school. All parts of the partnership must be committed and involved.

Which brings us back to diversity in the teacher corps. The Center for American Progress report, Teacher Diversity Matters A State-by-State Analysis of Teachers of Color, which was highlighted in the Huffington Post article makes the following recommendations:

There have been some successful initiatives to increase the diversity of the teaching workforce over the years. The successful characteristics of these programs are detailed in an accompanying study released with this paper by Saba Bireda and Robin Chait titled “Increasing Teacher Diversity: Strategies to Improve the Teacher Workforce.”10

Briefly, though, those recommendations include:

Increasing federal oversight of and increased accountability for teacher preparation programs

Creating statewide initiatives to fund teacher preparation programs aimed at low-income and minority teachers

Strengthening federal financial aid programs for low-income students entering the teaching field

Reducing the cost of becoming a teacher by creating more avenues to enter the field and increasing the number of qualified credentialing organizations

Strengthening state-sponsored and nonprofit teacher recruitment and training organizations by increasing standards for admission, using best practices to recruit high-achieving minority students, and forming strong relationships with districts to ensure recruitment needs are met

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/11/pdf/teacher_diversity.pdf

The mantra is the country is broke and we, as a society, cannot afford the cost of implementing these recommendations. The reality is, we as a society, cannot afford the long-term cost of not implementing these recommendations.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

2 Responses to “The teaching profession needs more males and teachers of color”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Boys of color: Resources from the Boys Initiative « drwilda - July 6, 2012

    […] A diverse teaching corps is needed not only to mirror the society, but because the continuing family meltdown has broadened the duties of schools.https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/the-teaching-profession-needs-more-males-and-teachers-of-col… […]

  2. The teacher master’s degree and student achievement « drwilda - July 23, 2012

    […] The teaching profession needs more males and teachers of color https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/the-teaching-profession-needs-more-males-and-teachers-of-col… […]

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