Underrepresented teachers get senate support

Senator Roxanne J. Persaud with Sylvia Whiteside. “Bonnets Eas
Senator Roxanne J. Persaud.

New York State Senate on Wednesday passed Brooklyn Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud’s bill that seeks to attract and retain underrepresented teachers within underrepresented schools across New York State.

“This legislation will help retain these teachers by providing grants to schools for recruiting and providing financial incentives to underrepresented teachers,” said the Guyanese-born Persaud, whose 19th Senatorial District in Brooklyn encompasses Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill and Starrett City.

Persaud said an underrepresented teacher is defined as one who holds a permanent or professional State-teaching certificate, and has participated in a school district/post-secondary partnership “grow your own” initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, Teacher Opportunity Corps program, higher education opportunity program, education opportunity program, or other similar program.

Underrepresented schools are defined as schools having an underrepresentation of underrepresented teachers, Persaud said.

In pointing to a recent State Education Department report, she said 80 percent of New York’s 210,000 teachers are white, while only 18,000 are Black or African American, and 16,000 are Hispanic or Latino

“It is vital that Black and Hispanic children see themselves represented in their classroom teachers,” Persaud said. “Recent studies have indicated having just one teacher of the same race can improve a student’s attendance, test scores, and even their classroom behavior.

“I thank the Senate Majority Conference for passing this important legislation,” she added.

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