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NYC will spend $16M to diversify teaching corps

Just 6,600 of the city’s 76,000 teachers are men of color
NYC Men Teach aims to add 1,000 black, Latino and Asian men to the city’s teaching rosters by 2018. (Photo: Gettyimages.com/digital vision)
NYC Men Teach aims to add 1,000 black, Latino and Asian men to the city’s teaching rosters by 2018. (Photo: Gettyimages.com/digital vision)

Research suggests a diverse teaching force can improve students’ learning experiences. That’s the goal of a three-year, $16 million program called NYC Men Teach, designed to add 1,000 black, Latino and Asian men to the city’s teaching rosters by 2018.

Male students of color account for 43 percent of New York City public school enrollment, but just 6,600 of the city’s 76,000 teachers are men of color.

This disparity spurred Mayor Bill de Blasio to launch the plan in 2015. A hiring fair this past summer connected hundreds of teachers and would-be teachers with representatives from over 100 New York City schools. NYC Men Teach staffers met with principals beforehand to explain the importance of diversity and the program’s goals.

Staffers also helped prep candidates for the event. More fairs are planned.

Principals looking to diversify their teaching staff can also use the city Department of Education’s teacher finder, an online database, to easily identify NYC Men Teach participants.

The ed department is working to break down barriers that keep men of color from teaching careers.

No more alienation

Mentorship programs will pair experienced teachers with NYC Men Teach participants (called “ambassadors”). Ambassadors and mentors will meet throughout the school year to discuss experiences and to set goals.

The mentorship programs will provide socio-emotional support to men who have traditionally felt alienated in school settings.

NYC Men Teach aims to ensure that men of color “see teaching as a viable profession” and understand the pathways they need to become a teacher, says Crystel Harris, director of diversity recruitment for the education department.

Such pathways include:

  • Alternate certification. The New York City Teaching Collaborative and New York City Teaching Fellows can help men with undergraduate degrees get certification and experience. Participants work in classrooms and complete intensive spring and summer residency programs while working toward a master’s degree. NYC Men Teach participants also have access to certification test prep.
  • Paraprofessionals to Teachers. Men with or without bachelor’s degrees take jobs as paraprofessionals, who might not have had experience otherwise, while getting additional PD and academic help.
  • Community recruitment. This program encourages people who work with community organizations in school neighborhoods to consider teaching careers.

The program comprises the mayor’s office, the City University of New York, the education department and the city’s Young Men’s Initiative.

“Nationally, we need more teachers of color in our classrooms,” says Harris. “We want to change the perception of teaching so that teaching is a key contender when people consider career options.”