NY State Initiatives Fail to Keep Minority Teachers

February 10, 2014 Updated: October 8, 2018

NEW YORK—New York state is struggling to hire more minority teachers, but they keep on leaving the profession, according to a Feb. 3 report from the state Office of Higher Education.

Whereas 80 percent of the teachers are white, more than half the students are minorities according to the report. Although the state has some initiatives to balance this ratio, minority teachers are leaving the profession earlier and at higher rates than white teachers.

Research has shown minority teachers have a positive influence on students of the same background. They can be role models and also provide a “cultural match between the students’ homes and the schools,” the report states.

But they are leaving more often than white teachers, either in search of a better career or out of dissatisfaction with school management.

Usually, they wish to have more power over decisions regarding the school and more freedom of what to teach.

There is only one state program aimed directly at the issue. It is called Teacher Opportunity Corps (TOC) and provides grants to universities providing teaching certification.

TOC gives priority to African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Alaskan Native, and poor students. It provides specialized curriculum, practical training in low-performing schools, and mentoring during their first year of teaching.

Since 1987 the TOC helped over 3,500 students to graduate, but its funding dropped from more than $700,000 in 2007 to $450,000 in 2013.

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