Collective solution needed for classroom diversity

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: February 15 2014 | 3:37 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:41 am in
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Your Gomers section on Feb. 10 stated that the beginning student teacher population of Hispanic ethnicity or racial minorities was at 2.5 percent, down from 2.8 percent a decade ago. The statewide average for minorities for all teachers was stagnant at 2.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the student population diversity showed a 20.3 percent average for minorities. You then state that matching the teacher to student ratio doesn’t guarantee anything, but “experts” say it can help. A question: Can a Hispanic teacher relate better to a black student than a white teacher?

If, in fact, the teacher student ratio is a good measure of improved academic performance (which I have to question), then do we need to hire about 10 times more minority teachers for the current student population and fire an equal number of experienced “white” teachers?

A second point in your Gomers correctly identified a daunting, but important issue; namely that disadvantaged kids, minority and poor, are not doing well at school. I don’t think you have begun to scratch the surface as to how to solve it and I think you may be diverting attention from the source of the problem by waving the diversity flag. Parental guidance, teacher training, counseling/mentoring, funding, etc., all need to be looked at as part of a collective solution.

Gordon Taylor

Anamosa

 

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