Teacher Recruitment and Retention

By Jennifer Dooley M.Ed., MAED.
Sixth-grade teacher
Pontiac City School District

I am ecstatic when organizations and policy makers recommend funding schools with a weighted formula based on student needs. It is an important first step to acknowledge that not all children are the same nor are they afforded the same economic advantages.

However, even if we get the equity piece in place, there is still one big factor that makes the difference in how well students learn. Everything begins with the educator.

Minority representation in the education profession is dismal, and it’s not because qualified professionals don’t exist. That situation has to change. Having educators of all ethnicities present in schools improves self-esteem, confidence and identity security for all students.

Meanwhile, though, it’s all that much more important for white educators—especially those in majority-minority schools—to examine their own biases and prejudices to enable and enhance their ability to become culturally sensitive to the needs of student learners.

Educators who open themselves up to better insights and understanding about their students will be more successful and more likely to endure in the profession for years to come.

Read Jennifer’s full column at mea.org/DooleyView.

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