Since 1980 the number of minority students enrolled in public schools has been rising while the number of minority teachers has been falling. Minority students now make up nearly 30 percent of the elementary and secondary school-age population, while the number of minority teachers has fallen from 11.7 percent to 10.3 percent during the past fifteen years, according to sources cited by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (1987).
The decline in the number of minority teachers appears to result from several factors: increased career opportunities in other fields, a decline in higher education enrollment rates by minorities, the growing use of teacher competency testing (failure rates for blacks and other minorities are higher than for whites), and a dissatisfaction with the teaching profession.
According to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, "A quality education requires that all students be exposed to the variety of cultural perspectives that represent the nation at large. Such exposure can be accomplished only via a multiethnic teaching force in which racial and ethnic groups are included at a level of parity with their numbers in the population."
Historically the majority of black teachers (more that 50 percent) have come out of black colleges and universities. These institutions are under severe pressures, and many may lose accreditation for their departments of education due to changes in state requirements. The ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education notes that "since 1978 the number of new teachers produced by 45 predominantly black colleges has declined by 47 percent."
In sum, the central problem, writes Patricia Albjerg aham (1987), "is that blacks in the U.S. are not getting as good an education as whites are."
Colleges need to develop better recruitment programs to attract minority students to their campuses and help those students successfully complete higher education degrees. There is a need for imaginative programs developed through private and public resources to attract minority students to education. Federal aid programs for minority teachers or incentives such as loan forgiveness for minority teachers could be used.
The following ten programs were recommended by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education for developing minority teachers: (l) A national scholarship program for minority students who enter teaching, (2) state scholarship programs, (3) targeted high school work-study programs, (4) targeted college work-study programs, (5) a program stressing the need for better articulation between two-year and four-year institutions, (6) assistantships and grants programs, (7) loan repayment incentive programs, (8) support programs for reentry and career changes, (9) special support programs for minorities accepting teaching jobs in ethnically diverse communities, and (10) an institutional grant program to research teacher evaluation models for ity teachers.
The University of Oregon has developed a statewide effort for recruiting secondary junior and senior minority students into its College of Education. A brochure is distributed to all minority students who took the SAT test and all community college and high school counselors throughout the state. Special recruiters from the College of Education also travel to schools with large minority populations. In 1987 Oregon initiated a tuition waiver program for minority students attending state colleges and universities.
Haberman, noting that "the largest pool of blacks and Hispanics is in junior college," advises universities to establish linkages with local two-year institutions. Another potentially fruitful approach is the recruitment of midcareer minority professionals into teaching. The state of Maryland, for example, is currently publicizing teaching opportunities to those about to retire at military bases throughout the state.
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ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education. "Increasing Minority Participation in the Teaching Profession." New York: RIC /CUE, Teachers College, Columbia University, ERIC Digest, Number 31, April 1986. 4 pages. ED 270 527.
Graham, Patricia Albjerg. "Black Teachers: A Drastically Scarce Resource." PHI DELTA KAPPAN 68, 8 (April 1987): 598-605. EJ 352 274.
Haberman, Martin. RECRUITING AND SELECTING TEACHERS FOR URBAN SCHOOLS. New York: ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education; and Reston, Virginia Association of Teacher Educators, November 1987. 71 pages.
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