Getting a good education starts in the classroom. As the U.S. Population becomes more diverse, school systems are faced with the challenge of addressing the unique needs of a majority-minority student population.
The Center for American Progress and the National Education Association find that nearly half of students who attend public schools are minorities, but less than 1 in 5 of their teachers are nonwhite. In Lynchburg the student body is 50% black, 39% white and 11% classified as either Asian, Hispanic or another race.
Meanwhile, 91 out of 729 Lynchburg City teachers are minorities.
In Roanoke City schools, 44% of the student population is black, 39% white, 9% Hispanic and 3% Asian.
However, figures show only 11% of Roanoke City educators are non-white.
Both Lynchburg City and Roanoke City school systems reflect a nationwide trend of majority-minority student populations.
"We have a diverse school system with many different cultures and many different races" said Court Rosen, Roanoke City Vice-Mayor. "I think it is important in the classroom that students have role models and teachers to look up to but it provides a more collegial atmosphere."
In an effort to attract and retain qualified minority teachers, city leaders plan to work more closely with colleges and universities
"For example we want to reach out to alumni affairs, go to homecomings and certainly go to historically black colleges to put forth recruiting efforts" said Anita Price, Roanoke City Council member.
Roanoke city plans to start a Teachers for Tomorrow program. The goal is to encourage city students to become teachers and work in the school system.
The program starts in the Fall at Patrick Henry and William Fleming High School.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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