Phila. Launches Campaign to Diversify Staffs

By Bess Keller — April 25, 2006 1 min read
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The Philadelphia schools and several partners last week unveiled highlights of a Teacher Diversity Campaign designed to get more teachers of color into the district’s classrooms.

Currently, minority-group members make up 85 percent of the district’s student population but only 38 percent of the teacher corps.

To get a better match, the district plans to recruit up to 100 students who will do some of their student-teaching in Philadelphia as part of a special program. At least half the students, to be known as Ruth Wright Hayre Fellows, are to be teachers of color.

Also as part of the campaign, the district has pledged to provide more flexible and effective preparation for the Praxis teacher-licensing examination. The results of the test now push out 50 to 100 of the district’s minority teachers a year, according to the district.

The 210,000-student district also plans to step up teacher recruitment at universities with large African-American and Latino enrollments.

The campaign will touch white teachers as well. To increase “cultural proficiency” across the board, the district intends to formulate standards to ensure that teachers can work with students of different backgrounds.


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