Grammy-winning singer John Legend is lending his support to the Department of Education’s efforts to increase the number of minority teachers in America. Most recently, the acclaimed songwriter appeared at a Howard University event with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to promote teaching careers.
The Shortage of Minority Teachers
While nearly 40% of students are minorities, in 2010, it is estimated that only 5% of teachers fall into that category. That’s according to the National Education Association which is one of a number of groups sounding the alarm about the lack of diversity in the education field.
Minority teachers are considered especially important in urban districts. With drop-out rates in some Latino and African-American neighborhoods approaching 50% or more, Secretary Duncan has made it his mission to recruit more minority teachers. Finding male minority teachers, in particular, is considered a priority since many students live in homes where there is no father or strong male influence.
Secretary Duncan reports that only 3.5% of male teachers are Latinos or African-Americans. It is hoped that recruiting more male minority teachers will provide role models for boys and young adults who currently live in single parent households.
John Legend and the TEACH Campaign
The TEACH Campaign was launched by the Department of Education to recruit new teachers, both minority and otherwise. It is intended to not only motivate people to consider a teaching career, but also provide practical tools to determine how best to become certified and find jobs.
Legend became interested in education after reading the book The End of Poverty. He has become an ardent supporter of the TEACH Campaign and in a recent guest blog post said, “Studies show that good teaching is the single biggest predictor of student success - more important than class size, dollars spent per student, or the quality of textbooks and materials.”
The joint appearance between Legend and Secretary Duncan at Howard University gave them an opportunity to promote teaching careers to students who may not have yet chosen a major. Meanwhile, the university also offers a Ready to Teach program that provides a fast-track curriculum for previous grads who want to earn their teaching certificate.
Teaching is one of the few jobs in which you have the opportunity to make a profound impact on others, and it is hoped that more minorities will answer the call. As Legend sums up in his blog posting, “What an incredible opportunity to change someone's life.”
Want to be part of the movement? Visit EducationJobSite for information about how to step into an education career in your area.
Maryalene LaPonsie is an accomplished writer who has extensive experience reporting on education, career advancement and workforce development topics. She specializes in sales and marketing consultation as well as general copywriting services.