Rivera Center Proposals To Increase Latino Teachers
Here are some highlights of the Tomas Rivera Center's policy recommendations on increasing the number of Latino teachers:
- The U.S. Education Department should provide incentives to state teacher-certification agencies to explore and adopt new assessment procedures in both basic skills and subject-matter areas. The current standardized tests, the center argues, "carry racial and ethnic-group biases and there is no correlation between passing the standardized test and success in classroom teaching.''
- The federal government should create a student-loan-forgiveness program for teachers prepared and committed to work in low-income urban and rural Latino communities.
- Teacher education programs should not limit their focuses to bilingual education. Instead, they should recognize the varied needs of Hispanic students, including immigrant and native-born students, those who speak only English or Spanish, and those who speak both languages.
- The Education Department should create a fellowship program to support Latino graduate students interested in becoming teacher-educators. The pool of Latino faculty members interested and prepared to work in teacher education is now "extremely limited.''
- School districts should work with teacher education programs to hire Hispanic teacher candidates as part-time instructional assistants. Currently, districts tend to wait for qualified candidates to apply for teaching jobs, rather than helping develop them.
- Districts should do more to encourage Latino instructional assistants to pursue degrees and receive teaching credentials. Districts also should develop new career opportunities that would allow teachers who are successful with Latino students to work as teacher-educators.