ShareThis Page
News

Group wants more minority teachers

| Tuesday, April 19, 2005

With few minority teachers graduating from Pennsylvania colleges, an advocacy group called Monday for state-mandated scholarships to provide teachers for hard-to-staff schools.

Pennsylvania ACORN -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- wants to recruit paraprofessionals already working in low-income and other hard-to-staff schools by paying for their educations.

"They are people who are committed to our children and our schools, and we feel they deserve the opportunity," said Celeste Taylor, ACORN policy director.

The goal is to hire 1,000 minority teachers for those schools statewide by 2016 and retain them for seven years.

The nonprofit organization representing low- and moderate-income families calls for the "Grow Your Own" program to be funded by "federal, state, foundations or other sources" and be paid up-front, with loans canceled if the recipient teaches for five years.

The proposal follows an ACORN report which shows blacks accounted for only 4.3 percent to 5 percent of education graduates statewide during the past three years.

In Pittsburgh Public Schools, blacks make up 59 percent of the students and about 20 percent of the faculty, according to district officials. Statewide, 11 percent of students are minorities, while 85 percent of Philadelphia students are, according to ACORN.

ACORN cites a recent study which found that teachers prefer to work close to where they grew up.

Sherman Shrager, vice president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, said he does not know the details of the proposed "Grow Your Own" program but supports the concept.

Pittsburgh Public Schools and Indiana University of Pennsylvania had a partnership providing scholarships for paraprofessionals to become teachers that was disbanded several years ago, he said.

Districts must provide better working conditions and salaries to attract minorities to teaching instead of other careers, Shrager said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me