Education coalition moving forward to address teacher diversity gap
Saint Paul, Minn. (Feb. 15, 2016) — Metropolitan State University School of Urban Education co-sponsored Increasing Teacher Diversity in Minnesota: An Ongoing Community Conversation and Call to Action.
More than 200 people from more than 100 organizations, school districts, institutions and various racial/ethnic communities throughout the state participated in the event Saturday, Feb. 6 at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC). (see attached list)
The Coalition to Increase Teachers of Color in Minnesota is using the ideas generated on Feb. 6 to urge policy makers to pass legislation that will address the barriers to the profession. Participants also signed a petition and made personal commitments to action ranging from encouraging others to join the coalition, encouraging at least one person of color a month to go into teaching, and contacting their elected officials.
The event was supported by Gov. Mark Dayton who wrote to participants, “The strategies that come out of today’s conversations will help move Minnesota forward and help enhance the educational experiences of all students across the state.”
Participants are united around the common goal to double the current number of teachers of color in the state by 2020, and ensure that 20 percent of candidates in the teacher preparation pipeline are people of color and American Indian. Nearly 30 percent of students in Minnesota schools are students of color and American Indian students, yet 4 percent of their teachers are of color or American Indian. The gap is much wider in many Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota schools with a majority of students of color and American Indian students.
Ideas for action to address barriers to the profession for people of color and American Indians were developed in the following areas:
- Increasing pathways for diverse youth, paraprofessionals and career changers to enter the teaching profession
- Eliminating discriminatory teacher testing requirements
- Providing scholarship incentives and student teaching stipends
- Providing induction and retention support
- Offering loan forgiveness for teaching service
- Making changes to ensure curriculum and instruction are culturally relevant
A petition calling for policy change is available at http://tinyurl.com/IncreaseTeacherDiversityMN.
Metropolitan State University, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, is the United States’ premier university for lifelong learning, providing unsurpassed, competitive academic and professional degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels while maintaining affordability.