On Wednesday, the NYS Senate passed legislation aimed at attracting and retaining underrepresented teachers within underrepresented schools across New York State by providing grants to schools for recruiting and providing financial incentives to underrepresented teachers.
The bill– S.7647– was sponsored by Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud who represents the 19th District of East Brooklyn (Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill, and Starrett City).
Sen. Persaud introduced the bill in response to a 2019 New York State Education report that found a widening ratio between students of color and teachers of color in schools across the state.
According to the report, 80 percent—or a little over 170,000– of New York’s teachers are White, and Latino and Black educators are under-represented. That is, while the number of students of color has increased, the number of Black or AfricanAmerican teachers has remained relatively unchanged.
“According to a recent State Education Department report, 80% of New York’s 210,000 teachers are white, while only 18,000 are Black or African American, and 16,000 are Hispanic or Latino,” said Sen. Persaud. “It is vital that Black and Hispanic children see themselves represented in their classroom teachers.”
Research suggests that having educators of color as professional role models in their school benefits all students in several ways, including reducing the likelihood that they will grow up to harbor implicit bias against individuals from other racial backgrounds.
Teachers of color also have significant long-term positive effects on the academic success of students of color, including improved test scores, identifying more Black students as gifted and talented, higher graduation rates, and greater college aspirations, according to the report. Having a teacher of color is associated with lower rates of chronic absenteeism and suspension, particularly for boys of color.
Teachers of color also have significant long-term positive effects on the academic success of students of color, including improved test scores, identifying more Black students as gifted and talented, higher graduation rates, and greater college aspirations, according to the report.
New York schools with Latino or Black principals tend to employ greater percentages of Latino and Black teachers, suggesting that school leadership can have an influence on the employment of teachers of color. And advocates have suggested that interacting with leaders of color from a young age can help reduce prejudices toward people from different demographic backgrounds and demonstrate to students that people of color can and should hold positions of authority in society.
“… studies have indicated having just one teacher of the same race can improve a student’s attendance, test scores, and even their classroom behavior,” said Persaud.
“I thank the Senate Majority Conference for passing this important legislation.”
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