Saturday, November 27, 1999

Schools get diversity grant

Aim is more minority staff

Enquirer Contributor

        MIDDLETOWN — A state grant will help the Middletown/Monroe Schools diversify its staff in the face of a shrinking pool of minority teachers and a growing minority student enrollment.

        The $50,000 Ohio Department of Education grant will allow the district to groom teacher candidates from within its own student population in three key areas: female math and science teachers, male teachers in grades kindergarten through 6, and minority teachers for any grade.

        “We're losing men in elementary education at a time when we have a greater need than ever,” said Brenda Long, human resource director.

        “Some of our children do not have any male role models at home. It's vital they have them in the classroom.”

        In the area of minority teachers, the district has seen a decline, largely because there are fewer minority students graduating from education programs.

        For example, only 2.5 percent of Kent State and 3.3 percent of Miami University graduates in education have been minorities, Mrs. Long said.

        As a result, the district's percentage of minority teachers has declined from 7.7 percent in 1982 to 5.6 percent in 1998. Yet, the district's minority enrollment rose from 13 percent in 1977 to 16 percent in 1998.

        The percent of male elementary school teachers dropped from 11 percent in 1982 to 6 percent in 1998. There were only two female science teachers in 1997.

        To combat the trends, the district developed the ENABLE program — Enabling New and Bright Leaders in Education. It will be funded with the ODE grant.

        Under the ENABLE program, Future Teachers of America clubs will be started next month at Middletown, Lemon-Monroe and Garfield high schools.

        Seniors who participate in the club will be eligible to apply for renewable $5,000 loans to attend college. The loans will be forgiven if the student completes college, earns a teaching license, and then returns to teach in the Middletown/Monroe Schools for three years.

        Candidates would include minorities, females who agree to teach math or science and males who teach in grades 1-6.

        “We'll use the majority of the money for the loans,” Mrs. Long said, noting that up to seven loans will be available this year.


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