In Education Minnesota report calls for more teacher diversity, Minnesota Public Radio’s Laura Yuen reported in March 2016
“The state’s student body is not as diverse as the national average, but the lack of diversity among its teaching ranks is much more severe and “highly detrimental,” according to a 65-page report from the state teachers union released Monday.
“Less than 4 percent of Minnesota’s teachers are nonwhite, compared with about 30 percent of schoolchildren.
“First-grade teacher Maria Le, an adviser to the Education Minnesota report, said children aren’t seeing themselves reflected in the teaching ranks. And, she said, the lack of diversity can also be tough on the teachers who do come from diverse backgrounds.
The School of Urban Education covers many facets of the current public school makeup in the metropolitan area, with the primary goal of educating teachers who can relate to diverse classroom populations.
The School of Urban Education at Metropolitan State University wants to put teachers into our schools who can relate to children of color. One goal is to recruit teachers of color or low income or possibly “first-generation college students” who will provide a more comfortable learning atmosphere for the students by bringing their own life experience to the classroom. Future teachers enrolled in the program are able to pick from four different content areas for teaching including mathematics, social studies, life sciences and English.
Metropolitan State is also one the most affordable universities in the state. The centralized location of Saint Paul off of Interstate 94 enables easy access to Minnesota residents from all directions. Classes are also very flexible and often meet in the evening which helps working adults fit classes into their busy schedules.
One program Metropolitan State offers is Urban Elementary Education (BS). This program will assist those enrolled in receiving obtaining teaching licenses while obtaining the education to teach K-6 grades. Another option Metropolitan State offers is the Urban Education Master of Science program. This program is for already licensed teachers looking to advance their careers, people already working with urban youth who are seeking specific areas of professional development, and those seeking to become licensed secondary teachers in the state of Minnesota. The master’s program is new to Metropolitan State.
The university is also developing a new education program for those interested in teaching students who are learning English. This concentration is in the process of being approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. “Minnesota is unusual in its approach to ESL teachers since it allows stand-alone ESL Licensing.” (http://www.eslteacheredu.org/)
Urban education is a prominent need in the Twin Cities area. Metropolitan State offers the most affordable and most experienced program in the state. Where else does a University allow pre-service and in-service teachers to study in the heart of the communities where they hope to teach?