The University of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL has introduced the Holmes Scholarship program with the aim to increase the number of teachers from underrepresented groups.
Nine students have accepted full tuition scholarships. In return they agree to teach in schools in northeast Florida once they graduate.
Jarred Jackson, one of the nine students who received a Holmes Scholarship stated that “it’s exciting to me that I can give back to my community as a positive role model. Knowing that I can go in the school system and affect a child’s life is very exciting.”
The University of North Florida enrolls just over 14,000 undergraduate students and more than 2,000 graduate students, according to the latest data supplied by the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 9 percent of the undergraduate student body.
According to the CT Post, this Monday Connecticut State Representative Patricia Billie Miller (D-Stamford) helped push through an unanimous bill to direct the state Department of Education to take more steps to recruit and retain minority teachers. The Senate previously approved the measure, so it will pass to Governor Dannel Malloy‘s desk for a signature.
Miller, who grew up in Stamford, didn’t have a black teacher until she was in the eighth grade. That teacher helped Miller become a successful student, she said. So years later, Miller was dismayed when her daughter, now 28, also only had one black teacher in Stamford schools. “It helps when you have someone in front of you that looks like you,” the Democrat said Monday.
Although non-white students are approximately one third of Connecticut’s school population, teachers of color are only 7 percent of the state’s public school faculty, according to the state Commission on Equity and Opportunity.
The bill Miller voted in favor of directs the Department to modernize its educator certification processes, develop private partnerships to increase recruitment and intervene where necessary in local board of education’s efforts to prioritize hiring minority teachers.
Lawmakers of both parties noted the diversity of thought and culture that teachers of color can bring to a classroom, benefiting children of all races. “We are providing a deficient education to our children if we are not providing a school system and faculty that reflects this state and this country,” said Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford, House chair of the Education Committee.
Darryl Chamberlain was determined to create a youth orchestra come hell or high water. In these uncertain times, where public school budget cuts are impacting African American students perhaps more than ever before, Chamberlain, a history teacher in Kansas City, Missouri, began thinking out of the box.
Chamberlain wants to change young lives through music but he had limited resources. So with the money he received playing piano in local churches, Chamberlain bought 70 used instruments, some from pawn shops, and cleaned them up for the students in his class.The result: The A-Flat Orchestra.
“The A-Flat Orchestra doesn’t have a funding arm behind it,” Chamberlain said, “just wit and ingenuity,” Chamberlain told The Kansas City Star. “And with a little ingenuity you can do anything.”
Chamberlain is delivering on a random act of kindness – a much-needed effort during a time when activities like music could be sacrificed in public schools across the country. “I’m doing more than teaching music,” Chamberlain, 59, told The Star. “I draw parallels to life situations and help them to understand how music connects to everyday life.”
He has assembled an orchestra of about 15 students so far but Chamberlain’s goal is to have a much larger symphony. He accepts all students regardless of their musical abilities. Chamberlain is shaping young lives every day and recent studies suggest that Chamberlain’s interaction with black students is critical.
Here is how Johns Hopkins University explains it: In a new study, low-income Black students who have at least one Black teacher in elementary school are significantly more likely to graduate high school and consider attending college, according to a study co-authored by a Johns Hopkins University economist. Having at least one Black teacher in third through fifth grades reduced a Black student’s probability of dropping out of school by 29 percent, the study found. For very low-income Black boys, the results are even greater – their chance of dropping out fell 39 percent.
Previous research has shown there are short-term benefits to pairing students with teachers of the same race, but this study, a new working paper published by the Institute of Labor Economics, demonstrates the positive impacts of having just one of these teachers can continue over many years. “Black students matched to black teachers have been shown to have higher test scores but we wanted to know if these student-teacher racial matches had longer-lasting benefits. We found the answer is a resounding yes,” co-author Nicolas Papageorge of Johns Hopkins said in a statement.
“We’re seeing spending just one year with a teacher of the same race can move the dial on one of the most frustratingly persistent gaps in educational attainment — that of low-income black boys. It not only moves the dial, it moves the dial in a powerful way.”Chamberlain is certainly moving the dial in Kansas City. “Music students have the lowest rate of teenage pregnancy, lower rates of violent crime,” Chamberlain told The Star. “
A new study by researchers at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University finds that middle and high school students of all races have a more favorable opinion of Black and Latino teachers than they do of White teachers.
The authors of the study examined data on 1,680 teachers in 200 urban schools who taught more than 50,000 students in grades six through nine.
Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng, assistant professor of international education at New York University and a co-author of the study, said that “we were surprised to find that minority teachers are not just viewed more highly than White teachers by minority students, but in many cases by White students as well.” Asian American students preferred Black teachers even more than did Black students.
The study, “The Importance of Minority Teachers: Student Perceptions of Minority Versus White Teachers,” was published on the website of the journal Educational Researcher. It may be accessed here.