In a recent article, Minnesota Public Schools intend to increase minority teacher recruitment efforts. An assortment of efforts is presently in place by colleges and education reform organizations. Minnesota Public Schools can only increase minority teacher recruitment by transforming the perception that students have regarding teacher intentions.


According to the article, Gov. Mark Dayton included $25 million in his latest budget proposal to aid efforts to find teachers of color and those who teach in hard-to-fill areas like special education. Among other things, the money would be used for grants and a loan forgiveness program.

Many schools have responded to the shortage by looking inside their own ranks. For example, the U and Minneapolis Public Schools are seeking state Board of Teaching approval to train the district’s educator support professionals — almost half of whom are minorities — to become licensed teachers.

Winona State University has partnered with Riverland Community College and Austin Public Schools to launch the program that will train Perales, who likely won’t have to give up his IT job while he’s a full-time student.


The Governor, Minnesota Public Schools, colleges, and university efforts will be fruitless unless they transform the perception that many Black students have regarding teachers.


The perception that many Black students have regarding schools is that schools are a pipeline that leads Black students to prison. The school to prison pipeline begins with the over discipline of Black preschool children. According to a report from the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, Black children represent 18% of preschoolers enrolled in school, but 48% of them receive more than one out-of school suspension. White preschool children represent 43% of preschoolers but 26% of the children receiving more than one out of school suspension. The poor perception that Black students have towards education begins in preschool which has a direct impact on minority teacher recruitment.


This same pattern for Black students continues to impact minority teacher recruitment. Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students. On average, 5% of white students are suspended, compared to 16% of Black students.


Black students will continue to refrain from becoming eligible for minority teacher recruitment due to arrests and referrals to law enforcement. Black students represent 16% of student enrollment, they represent 27% of students referred to law enforcement and 31% of students subjected to a school-related arrest. In comparison, white students represent 51% of enrollment, 41% of students referred to law enforcement, and 39% of those arrested.

There is also a perception developed by students who are not influenced by the education to prison pipeline. Many of those students who are able to successfully negotiate their way though and survive choose other careers which would not make them available for minority teacher recruitment.

The other fact that the Governor, Minnesota Public Schools, colleges, and university do not consider is that many Black children are reminded daily that education has failed their parents and other family members too.

Many Black parents are subjected to racism daily and are forced to work jobs for which they over qualify. Their children watch them suffer and scramble to make a living knowing that a White person with the same amount of education has more and better opportunities.

Many Blacks are unemployed which has an impact on minority teacher recruitment because of the perception that it conveys to Black students. Labor and race relations experts mention the following specific challenges facing African American job seekers: (a) they encounter racial bias while job-hunting; (b) their communities have weaker job networks in place; and (c) credit checks by potential employers often work against them.  Black students are aware of these challenges and many more which will continue to impact minority teacher recruitment.

The only way to increase minority teacher recruitment is to eliminate classroom racism (Elcloomism) by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships).

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Building a teacher workforce that is reflective of our students


Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012


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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships


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