Hispanic Educators Could be Crucial to Improving Education
According to the United States Department of Education, there are now more minority students in U.S. K-12 school systems than there are white students. Despite that, there still seems to be a lack of minority educators, specifically from the Latino community.
New data from the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights shows significant and continued disparities between white students and students of color in areas such as rigor of course material, college readiness, and school resources.
The report includes a number of shocking statistics, each one seemingly more unjust than the last.
The study found that students with disabilities, black students, and Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, and multicultural boys are all disproportionately suspended from K-12 schools. In addition, Hispanic students are 1.4 times more likely than white students to attend a school with a law enforcement officer but without a school counselor.
It seems that U.S. schools are lacking resources that students often require to succeed, such as counseling and teacher support.
One factor that may be contributing to this disparity is the lack of Hispanic educators.
Hispanics are much less likely than non-Hispanic whites (or Black Americans, although the disparity is far smaller) to train to become teachers for various reasons. They’re more likely to grow up in poverty and struggle in school and less likely to pursue higher education of any kind.
Even those who do well in school and eventually rise out of poverty often don’t view teaching as a viable career.
It is for this reason that cities like Boston have started programs that provide mentoring, networking, and other opportunities for high school students, particularly those in minority communities, who are interested in education.
Boston officials hope that their programs will help cultivate a culturally diverse workforce that is interested in providing the best educators and role models for future students.
Natan Santos, a 17-year-old high school junior who participates in Boston’s new program, says he hadn’t thought about teaching before a guidance counselor recommended him for the program. He had no Latino teachers during his primary education — a deficit he now hopes to help correct for future generations.
Encouraging students like Nathan to pursue higher education could prove to be the saving grace that the U.S. education system needs. College education is a key factor in the decision to move, prompting over 75% of graduates to change communities at least once.
The spread of populations after college is a key factor in diversifying the education community. Cultivating an interest in education as a young age can inspire students to work towards a better life not only for themselves, but for the future students they may teach.
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