By: Arthur Everett, Policy Fellow with the New York Educator Voice Fellowship

Re: To address the underrepresentation of male teachers of color in the teaching force across New York State by creating and supporting a pipeline for male teachers of color to enter the profession and remain for a minimum of 7 years.

Problem

Despite increasing diversity within the student population, the teaching population remains overwhelmingly white and female. Male teachers, and specifically male teachers of color, are grossly underrepresented in both the teaching force and in public school administration. Statistically, male students of color, and African American and Latino males in particular, exhibit higher rates of school disengagement, detention, and suspension, and lower graduation, college matriculation, and graduation rates than other groups.

Solution

Increasing the number of male minority educators can provide increased opportunities for all students, and for male students of color in particular, to engage in culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy, to connect with positive models, and to disrupt negative perceptions and stereotypes of men of color.

A budget line item to fund a scholarship that incentivizes male high school students of color in New York state to become teachers committed to teaching at least seven years in their home districts has the potential to create a teacher pipeline that may address several critical issues in education: namely, the lack of gender and ethnic diversity in the profession, the dearth of qualified candidates to fill high need areas, and the declining enrollment in teacher preparation programs.

Background

It is a national trend that students of color (with the exception of Asian/Pacific Islander) graduate at lower rates than their white peers. “In 2013–14, the adjusted cohort graduation rates (ACGRs) for students of color [American Indian/Alaska Native (70 percent), Black (73 percent), and Hispanic (76 percent)] students were below the national average of 82 percent. Conversely, the ACGRs for White (87 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islander (89 percent) students were above the national average.”

In New York State, high school graduation rates are even more polarized with African American and Latino students falling below and white students surpassing the national average. The New York State four-year high school graduation rate for African-American and Hispanic male students has been 57% since 2012 with 57.4% of black and 57.2% of Latino boys graduating from New York high schools within four years, while the number for white male students is 84.8% according to the Schott Foundation for Public Education 2015 report.  

The New York State Education Department provides similarly dismal numbers. Nearly seven percent of students in the 2011 cohort—about 14,590 students—dropped out of high school. Of those who dropped out, 62% were Black or Hispanic; 64% came from economically disadvantaged homes; and 58% were male. Only about 50% of students with disabilities in the 2011 cohort graduated within four years. And, graduation rates for Black and Hispanic students continue to lag behind those of their White peers. In the 2011 cohort, 88.1% of White students graduated in June 2015 while only 64.6% of Black and Hispanic students did. In the 2012 cohort, 88.3% of White students graduated in June 2015 while only 67.7% and 67.6% of Black and Hispanic students did.

Compounding this trend are the realities that across NY State, male 4-year cohorts are graduating at around 75% (as opposed to females who are graduating above 83%, which reflects an 8% gap that has increased over the previous three cohorts); the dropout rates for students of color [American Indians (12%), Blacks (10%), Hispanics (11%), Multiracial (9%), and English Language Learners (28%) are far considerably higher than those of white (4%); and the teaching force has become even more female.

According to the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE), “soon 8 of 10 teachers in the nation will be female, an increasing percentage of elementary schools will have no male teachers, and an increasing number of students may encounter few, if any, male teachers during their time in either elementary or secondary school. Given the importance of teachers as role models, and even as surrogate parents for some students, certainly some will see this trend as a problem and a policy concern.”

Proposal

A bill to create a scholarship to incentivize and support male students of color to become public school teachers can promote underrepresented groups of students to graduate high school and college, can boost the number of male teachers of color in public school classrooms, can provide role models for male students of color, and can reduce teacher shortages in high need areas.

At present, a few initiatives to increase the number of male teachers of color exist:

  • In New York City, for example, NYC Men Teach

  • The New York State Board of Regents Workgroup to Improve Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color and My Brother’s Keeper Initiative

  • The Teacher Opportunity Corp (TOC) program

And, there exist state scholarships to incentivize teaching:

  • NYS Masters-in-Education Teacher Incentive Scholarship Program

  • NYS Math & Science Teaching Incentive Program

  • TEACH Grant Program

While these initiatives are focused in some ways on addressing the dearth of male, public school teachers of color, structural and systemic problems such as temporary or partial funding, and eligibility requirements such as college matriculation or grade point average pose barriers likely to bar the very applicant pool in demand.

Moreover, these programs do not present a long-term solution to the problems of recruitment, support, professional development, and retention of male teachers of color in the profession.  “Minority teachers are two to three times more likely than white teachers to work in such hard-to-staff schools serving high-poverty, high-minority, and urban communities. However, while minorities have entered teaching at higher rates than whites in recent decades, the data also show that the rates at which minority teachers depart from schools is significantly higher than that of white teachers, and has also been increasing. In the two decades from the late 1980s to 2008-09, the annual rate of minority teacher turnover increased by 28 percent, undermining minority teacher recruitment efforts.”

A dedicated scholarship is an opportunity to build a pipeline to:

  • increase ethnic and gender diversity in the public school teacher force across the state;

  • bolster flagging matriculation rates in teacher preparation programs across the state;

  • identify and recruit potential male teachers of color at the high school level;

  • motivate members of traditionally disenfranchised groups to graduate high school ready to attend college;

  • create cohorts of like-minded peers and networks of support in undergraduate and graduate education programs;

  • provide alternative certification, coaching, and mentoring;

  • reduce the shortage of teachers in high-need, understaffed areas and districts, and;

  • provide positive male role models for, and improve academic and socio-emotional outcomes of, historically underrepresented groups of students.

 

For more information, contact the New York Educator Voice Fellowship or email maryconroy.almada@americaachieves.org. 


  1. Ingersoll, R., Merrill, L., & Stuckey, D. (2014). Seven trends: the transformation of the teaching force, updated April 2014. CPRE Report (#RR-80). Philadelphia: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service, The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce, Washington, D.C. 2016.
  3. Noguera, P. A. (2012). Responding to the Challenges Confronting Black and Latino Males: The Role of Public Policy in Countering the “Crisis” and Promoting Success. In S. Lewis, M. Casserly, C. Simon, R. Uzzell, & M. Palacios (Eds.), A Call For Change: Providing Solutions for Black Male Achievement (4-19). Washington, DC: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  4. Dee, T. S. (2004). Teachers, race and student achievement in a randomized experiment. The Review of 26 Economics and Statistics. 86 (1), 195-210. DOI: 10.1162/003465304323023750
  5. Kena, G., Hussar W., McFarland J., de Brey C., Musu-Gillette, L., Wang, X., Zhang, J., Rathbun, A., Wilkinson- Flicker, S., Diliberti M., Barmer, A., Bullock Mann, F., and Dunlop Velez, E. (2016). The Condition of Education 2016 (NCES 2016-144). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC. Retrieved [1 February 2017] from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch.
  6. The Schott Foundation for Public Education, BLACK LIVES MATTER: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males, Cambridge, MA. 2015.
  7. New York State Education Department. (2016, January 11). Education Department Releases 2015 High School Graduation Rates. Retrieved from http://www.nysed.gov/Press/Education-Department-Releases-2015-High-School-Graduation-Rates.
  8. New York State Education Department. (2017, February 10). State Education Department Releases 2012 Cohort High School Graduation Rates. Retrieved from http://www.nysed.gov/news/2017/state-education-department-releases-2012-cohort-high-school-graduation-rates.
  9. New York State Education Department. (2017, February 10).  June Graduation Rates for 2012 Cohort. Retrieved from http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/grad-rate-data-slides-2012-cohort.pdf.
  10. Ingersoll, R., Merrill, L., & Stuckey, D. (2014). Seven trends: the transformation of the teaching force, updated April 2014. CPRE Report (#RR-80). Philadelphia: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania.
  11. Created as a program “aiming to put an additional 1,000 men of color on course to become NYC public school teachers over the next three years.” NYC Young Men’s Initiative. (n.d.) NYC Men Teach. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/.
  12. has approved recently $425,000 in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation towards the state's My Brother's Keeper Initiative  and professional development for teachers. In fact, the 2016-17 NY state budget included $20 million allocation for the program with $3 million in grants will go towards boosting the number of underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals in teaching careers through the Teacher Opportunity Corp (TOC) program. Clukey, K. (2016, December 13). State Ed pledges to continue 'My Brother's Keeper' program. POLITICO NY.
  13. The purpose of TOC is to increase the participation rate of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals in teaching careers.  SED seeks to invest $3 million in grant programs to bolster the retention of highly qualified individuals who value equity and reflect the diversity inside and outside of classrooms, particularly in high-need schools with recurrent teacher shortages. New York State Education Department. (2016, July 18). $9 Million in Grants Now Available for Family and Community Engagement Program and Teacher Opportunity Corps. Retrieved from http://www.nysed.gov/news/2016/9-million-grants-now-available-family-and-community-engagement-program-and-teacher
  14. The Masters-in-Education Teacher Incentive Scholarship Program provides eligible students with a full-tuition scholarship for a master's degree at a State University of New York (SUNY) or City University of New York (CUNY) college or university. New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (n.d.) NYS Masters-in-Education Teacher Incentive Scholarship Program. Retrieved from https://www.hesc.ny.gov/pay-for-college/financial-aid/types-of-financial-aid/nys-grants-scholarships-awards/nys-masters-in-education-teacher-incentive-scholarship.html
  15. The NYS Math and Science Teaching Incentive Program is offered to encourage students to pursue careers as math and science teachers in secondary education (grades 7-12). Awards are made to students attending school at the undergraduate and/or graduate degree level in exchange for five years of full-time employment as math or science teachers in secondary education in NYS. New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (n.d.) NYS Math & Science Teaching Incentive Program. Retrieved from https://www.hesc.ny.gov/pay-for-college/financial-aid/types-of-financial-aid/nys-grants-scholarships-awards/nys-math-and-science-teaching-incentive-scholarships.html
  16. The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program provides grants to students in exchange for a completion of a service obligation teaching in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families. New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (n.d.) TEACH Grant Program. Retrieved from https://www.hesc.ny.gov/pay-for-college/financial-aid/types-of-financial-aid/grants/teach-grant-program.html
  17. Ingersoll, R. M., & May, L. (2011). The minority teacher shortage: Fact or fable? Phi Delta Kappan, 93(1), 62-65. Retrieved from http://www.gse.upenn.edu/pdf/rmi/Fact_or_Fable.pdf