- Five years ago, there were five teaching-themed high schools in New York City—one for each borough; now the city plans to add teaching-themed courses and clubs in 25 high schools, beginning with four new Educators Rising programs at four high school this year, Chalkbeat reports.
- These schools and programs designed to cultivate student interest in the teaching profession are part of an overall effort to increase the diversity of teachers in New York City schools. In another effort, the NYC Men Teach initiative has already helped place more than 1,000 men of color in the teaching pipeline.
- According to New York State data, fewer than 40% of the city's teachers are black, Latino or Asian, while students of color make up 80% of the enrollment.
The New York City Department of Education is one of many districts facing challenges with diversity in the teaching workforce. Recognizing the importance of teacher diversity in improving student achievement, especially among students of color, school districts across the nation are looking for new ways to recruit teachers of color. They are also exploring ways to improve induction programs and support systems for teachers to improve retention rates.
Programs that allow students to explore their career options are beneficial, and those that encourage students to explore teaching as a career serve a dual purpose in creating an additional teacher pipeline.
In New York City, schools focusing on the education field allow students to gain experience in teaching while earning credits toward a future program. In Edgecombe County in North Carolina, for example, a new Scholar Teachers Program at the early college high school allows students to earn the first two years of a college degree in education while in high school and offers scholarships to help students complete the degree if they promise to return home to teach.
These programs also allow students to narrow down teaching options, which can help the teaching pool. While there are severe shortages in some subject areas, elementary school teachers are in abundant supply. As students gain more information about the teaching profession through programs like Educators Rising, they can make more informed decisions about future careers in the field. Educators Rising is a "free national membership organization for aspiring teachers and their mentors.” For many school districts, this program offers a great place to start a home-grown teacher recruitment program.