Attracting Minorities into Teacher Education: A Model Program That Works

Article excerpt

In 1993, it became apparent to the African American

professors at a small midwestern university that several

minority students needed special attention and

encouragement to succeed in teacher education curricula as

well as adjust to living and working in a campus setting.

Many of the students were the first generation of their

family to attend a university and in many instances they

were unfamiliar with written guidelines and policies. They

needed a support system that would help them to find

university resources, such as graduate study funding,

research support, tutoring social systems and networks for

placements in future teaching positions.

To determine the scope of the problem, fifty state

universities were surveyed, and 60 percent of the

respondents revealed a need for additional academic, social

and economic support systems. In another survey,

administered nationally to 100 selected universities, an

overwhelming majority showed that there were no services

specifically available to minorities in the college of education.

Based on these findings, it was concluded that a Minority

Teacher Education Association (MTEA) was needed.

Established in 1994, MTEA became the impetus for the

Minority Teacher Identification and Enrichment Program

(MTIEP) grant which was funded in the fall of 1995 and

1996 under the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Higher

Education Cooperative Act (HECA).

Recruitment Model

The Minority Teacher identification and Enrichment

Program (MTIEP) has successfully served as a catalyst in

the development of a state-wide program to increase the pool

of minority teachers in the State of Illinois. This program

created a network of Minority Teacher Education

Associations which identified potential teachers at the

community college, high school and junior high school levels

and provided them with pertinent information, educational

activities and academic support.

The program was organized in two phases. Phase one

was designed to be a mentor intensive program and included

the expertise of professionals such as superintendents,

principals, and teachers to recruit minority students into the

local MTEA chapters.

The mentors assisted in providing educational programs

and activities designed to sharpen reading comprehension,

mathematical, and computing skills. They also shared their

knowledge of the teaching profession, its requirements

and its opportunities. …