Current Events

By Debra Viadero — January 01, 1990 3 min read

Wanted: Minority Teachers

To help meet the growing demand for black and Hispanic teachers, six colleges and universities have launched an ambitious national program to single out 550 minority high school students and groom them for a career in teaching. The agreement creating the program was signed last fall in Washington, D.C., by the presidents of City College of New York, Xavier University of Louisiana, Fordham University, Hostos Community College of New York, and two postsecondary schools in Puerto Rico, Metropolitan University and the University of Turabo.

It requires the six institutions to work with local high schools that have large minority enrollments to identify 550 students in the 9th through the 12th grades who show promise as teachers.

The schools will provide the students with a four-year program that includes Saturday and summer courses, field trips and university visits, and guidance in choosing a college and seeking financial assistance.

In addition, special seminars and workshops, student-exchange programs, and hands-on teaching experiences will supplement the students’ college programs, says Miriam Cruz, president of Equity Research, a consulting firm working closely with the program.

“If, for example, students wanted to become bilingual, they could study in Puerto Rico for a year,” she says.

Cruz says the program is based on a similar project for promising young minority scientists operated by the Ana G. Mendez Educational Foundation. The foundation also operates the two Puerto Rico schools involved in the program for minority teachers.

She says the postsecondary schools will develop the program over the next year. They expect to begin recruiting high school students by 1991.

Unready For College

College undergraduates are ill suited for the academic rigors of higher education, are unprepared in basic skills, and do not work as hard at their studies as they should, say a majority of college faculty members in a new survey.

More than two-thirds, or 68 percent, of the 5,000 faculty members surveyed earlier this year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching said their institutions spend too much time and money teaching students what they should have learned in high school.

“Faculty have always been less than fully satisfied about the academic seriousness of their students, but trend lines reported here reinforce the fact that colleges can be no stronger than the nation’s schools, and that public education, despite six years of reform, is still producing inadequately prepared students,” writes Ernest Boyer, president of the Carnegie Foundation, in the forward of the report, The Condition of the Professoriate: Attitudes and Trends.

Making Choices

Some 3,700 students have transferred to new school districts in Minnesota in the first year of a two-year phase-in period for the state’s highly touted open-enrollment program, which allows parents to choose the school district their children attend.

The number represented a substantial increase over last year, when a total of 435 students successfully sought transfers under an earlier version of the “choice” program that did not mandate school district participation. Only districts enrolling 1,000 or more students were required to participate in the program this school year, but all districts will be required to allow student transfers beginning with the 1990-91 school year.

Recruiting Overseas

In an effort to prepare students to participate in a world economy, a new junior-senior high school near Denver is taking the unusual step of trying to recruit 20 percent of its students and teachers from abroad.

Gary Chesley, principal of the Eaglecrest School in Aurora, Colo., says he hopes to have an enrollment of 200 tuition-paying foreign students, most of them Japanese, when the magnet public school opens with about 1,000 students next fall.

He is working with the state education department and the one-year-old Colorado International Education Foundation to recruit the foreign students, who would probably live in a dormitory.

Sixteen schools in Japan have already expressed interest in exchanges with Eaglecrest, says Chesley, adding that the school also may recruit students from Europe and Mexico.

A version of this article appeared in the January 01, 1990 edition of Teacher as Current Events