In the summer of 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, gave his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech. In the speech, Dr. King stated that in the future, he wants his four children, and in turn, the rest of America, “Not to be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” A very poignant and powerful moment in this great nation’s history. However, in 2019, in New Jersey, those words ring hollow.
New Jersey State Education Commissioner, Mr. Lamont Repollet stated that, “Teacher diversity matters, a diverse workforce is a strong workforce.” Simply put, no, Mr. Repollet, a strong workforce is the workforce that hires based on experience, merit, and who is best for the job. Simply hiring someone based on their skin color to boost numbers will assuredly lower an already suffering New Jersey and American educational system.
New Jersey announced in January that they will be devoting $750,000 to recruit people of color to teach. It takes a special individual to be a teacher, especially in the present environment. Many say that teachers are born, not made. They have a great passion for it. They yearn to educate youth and guide them down their future path. They don’t do it for the money. As a teacher myself, I can say that no truer words are spoken. I have been a teacher for almost a decade, and the standards that need to be met to even graduate with a teaching degree have become vastly more difficult. Future teachers now need to do two semesters of student teaching instead of one. Future teachers now need to video record lessons and send it to the state for evaluation. These are all new standards put forth at the university and state level. Teachers must do all of this, on top of their course work as well as studying for and passing the praxis exam. Now, with all these strict standards, adding racial diversity to the hiring process in an already saturated job market may drive qualified potential teachers to search out a new career path.
Quickly, our liberal leaning state runs to the strategy of identity politics, saying that research shows if students of color have a teacher of color then they are less likely to drop out of school and more likely to attend college. Of course, conveniently, those research numbers were never disclosed, however, research from Inside Higher Ed, shows that young adults who live in single parent households complete 1.32 fewer years of schooling. Also, Inside Higher Ed shows that college completion is 24% lower for individuals who lived in a single parent household. Lastly, according to CNN, which is undoubtedly a liberal leaning network, African Americans have a 67% chance of being raised in a single parent household and Hispanics have a 42% chance of being raised by a single parent. So, what is the real problem? Teacher diversity or a lack of parental guidance and strong paternal figures?
The teacher application process is now almost completely online through a recruiting system called Applitrack. While filling out resume information, job qualifications, references, and everything that goes along with applying for a job, the last section always reads like this, “We are an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate against any applicant on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, martial status, disability, sexual orientation, age or any other status protected by applicable law.” With this new initiative to force teacher diversification, one must wonder if that statement will be truthful in the very near future. Stay informed New Jersey.
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