(TRENTON) – In schools throughout the United States large, disparities exist in race demographics between teachers and students, with a vast racial discrepancy in the ratio of minority male teachers and their students.
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Mila Jasey and Angela McKnight to increase teaching opportunities for minority men to fulfill the need for positive role models and create a pathway for more African American men to become educators was recently approved by the full Assembly.
Nationally, over 44 percent of all students fall within a minority categorization but minority teachers only comprise 17 percent of the overall teacher workforce.
“The presence of strong role models in a school setting can greatly increase a child’s chance at succeeding in life. With proper implementation, this pilot program would help us meet two crucial goals – recruiting highly qualified, diverse teachers and increasing access to teaching opportunities,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington).
This bill (A-3141) would establish a pilot program in the Department of Education (DOE), in which the Commissioner of Education will recruit eligible participants and match them to teaching opportunities for which they may apply in underperforming schools under the State’s alternate route teacher preparation program.
“More diverse representation is sorely needed in all schools,” said Jasey (D-Essex, Morris). “Every student deserves to see and be inspired by a teacher who looks like them, who they can relate to. We can help create more diversity within our teaching ranks and better meet the needs of our schools.”
“We must encourage diversity amongst education professionals,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “A pilot program will help bridge the gap that exists between our teaching population and the communities they serve, especially in the state’s more disadvantaged districts where many of the students are African American.”
Eligible participants will be male residents of New Jersey who are from disadvantaged or minority backgrounds, are interested in pursuing a teaching career in New Jersey, and meet the eligibility criteria for enrolling in the alternate route teacher preparation program, including State Board of Education requirements for obtaining a certificate of eligibility (CE).
The bill will direct the DOE commissioner to establish policies and procedures for the recruitment and selection of eligible participants for the program, and for matching the selected participants to teaching opportunities for which they may apply at the participating schools under the alternate route program.
The bill was approved by the full Assembly Monday, March 25.