In a recent article, Montgomery County’s school chief, Joshua P. Starr, announce a new initiative with the intention of increasing minority teachers in the workplace. The superintendent is implementing four strategies which revolve around recruitment, selection, retention, and internal development. This is not the first time that a school district has been pressured to increase minority teachers.

Lafayette School Corp decided that recruiting minority teachers was one of the primary goals outlined in a recent meeting at the Lafayette City Hall. The recruitment of minority teachers is in response to reducing the number of disproportionate Black youths who are suspended and expelled from school as well as the number of juvenile delinquency filings.

The University of Louisville’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), has the Minority Teacher Recruitment Project (MTRP) which is a partnership between

CEHD, Jefferson County Public Schools and the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative designed to recruit minority teachers. They, like the new Montgomery County plan, offers scholarships. In addition, they offer preparatory workshops for entrance exams, financial assistance, advising, professional development seminars, tutoring and career guidance.

Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Raisor has pledged to the school board to increase recruitment of minority teachers by having the human resources department to revamp its applicant tracking system, adopt an electronic filing system, and placing an emphasis on developing partnerships with colleges, particularly historically black colleges and universities.

The Montgomery County new initiative includes enlisting Montgomery County teachers as ambassadors who will help to recruit teachers in the colleges that they presently attend. The initiative will include a marketing campaign, an audit of the hiring process, and mandated professional learning regarding cultural proficiency too.

Montgomery County as well as other schools will need to implement additional strategies to ensure that recruiting minority teachers is accepted by the culture of the schools. The necessity for the acceptance of minority teachers by the culture of schools must be emphasized because what we are really talking about is a shift in scarce resources. The scarce resources are time and money.

A teaching job has provided many benefits to White families. Since the majority of the teachers are White female there are additional benefits. Not only are the White female teachers afforded the opportunity to contribute to the White household income, but because teachers have every evening off, every weekend off, and every summer off, it provides benefits as it related to child rearing. This long established pattern has benefited the White community and any efforts to jeopardize these scarce resources will be meet with opposition.

While the efforts of the Montgomery County School are commendable they are doomed to fail without transitioning the culture of the schools. The main reason for recruiting minority teachers is because the culture of the school rejects many of the Black students and their culture.

Black students have long been victims of rejection which has resulted in over disciplining Black children. According to a U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights report, Black preschool children disproportionately represent the majority of the students suspended. While Black children represent 18% of preschool enrollment they represent 48% of out of school suspensions. White preschool students represent 43% of the population but only 26% of the out of school suspensions. This pattern continues as Black students progress to higher grades. Black students are three times more likely to be suspended from school when compared to White students. One average, 5% of White students account for suspension while Black students account for 16% of the suspensions.

Even when it comes to interaction with law enforcement, Black students are victimized. Black students represent 16% of the student enrollment while representing 27% of the students who are recommended to law enforcement and 31% of the students who are arrested. White students represent 51% of the enrollment and are referred to law enforcement 41% of the time as well as accounting for only 39% of students who are arrested.

The same culture that rejects Black student will reject the recruited minority teachers. The reason that this is likely is because the inclusion of a Black teacher into a White female dominated culture has it limitations. Therefore, Montgomery County Schools will have to include in their initiative a process that acclimate the already established White culture to be more accepting of minority teachers and minority students. This can be accomplished by eliminating classroom racism (Elcloomism) which required promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships). This process will enhance Montgomery Counties teacher diversity initiative.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
www.positiveracialrelationships.com
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012

 

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