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The Minority Teacher Shortage: A Public Policy Issue

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The Minority Teacher Shortage: A Public Policy Issue

Introduction:

Educators and policymakers have expressed concern about the minority teacher shortage. These concerns have existed over the past decade. As minority student enrollment in public schools increases, the population of minority teachers decrease. The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) (1998) cautions that if a national intervention policy is not instituted to reverse this trend, the faces of minority teachers will disappear from the nation's classrooms. (Dilworth).

Identify Social Problem:

The shortage of minority teachers presents a social problem. This is because black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American teachers are essential role models to both minority and majority students growing up in an environment of assorted cultures and ethnicity. The American Council on Education (ACE) (1998) emphasized that the absence or lack of role models for minority students would result in educational deficits for the nation's youth. (Dilworth). A deficit of this nature would threaten America's future prosperity and ability to compete when compared to other industrialized nations of the world.

The demand and supply of teachers is balanced if the number of available teaching positions are equal to the number of teachers needed to fill these positions. If, for any reason this

balance is counterbalanced, then those most apprehensive with the education of our children are troubled. If the shortage of minority teachers continues it will cause social problem for America in the long run due to the above mentioned factors.

Explain problem by means of definition:

The problem that exists is simply that the number of minority teachers compared to the number of minority and majority students is not balanced. The number of minority students is far greater then that of the minority teachers. As well the number of majority students is also offset. Recent estimates from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)(1999) show that the number of public school teachers has increased from 2.2 million in the fall of 1998 to 2.3 million in the fall of 1999. This represents a 1.9 percent increase in 1999, suggesting that the current demand for minority teachers at the national level is fairly stable. ((Jones and Sandige).

Hecker (1996) and Feistritzer (1996) share the view that no real teacher shortages are anticipated. They argue that the supply of minority teachers, like any other labor market, will equal demand. Jones and Sandige contend that salary increases and the status of the profession will lure enough individuals to fill the projected aggregate demand for minority teachers between 2000 and 2005.

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