Attracting Minorities into Teacher Education: A Model Program That Works

Article excerpt

Attracting Minorities Into Teacher Education: A Model Program That Works.

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. …