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Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

1000 by 2025 Initiative: Jacksonville’s Response to Schools’ Biggest Diversity Problem

By meerna Jun18,2024
1000 by 2025 Initiative: Jacksonville’s Response to Schools’ Biggest Diversity Problem


By [email protected] | You often hear the saying: representation matters.

Representation is everything to a child. It can look like almost anything, from a doll that resembles your daughter to your son having a favorite teacher from his socioeconomic or racial background.

Unfortunately, U.S. labor officials report that only about one in five teachers are people of color, compared with more than half of elementary and middle school students in the nation’s public schools.

This comparison inspired a unique program in Jacksonville and Duval County, where 70 percent of the district’s students are racial minorities and 52 percent come from economically disadvantaged households. The lack of representation is exacerbated for young boys of color, who make up approximately 30 percent of the student body in Duval County.

Only about 10 percent of teachers in the county are black or Latino men.

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund and Duval County Public Schools want to change that with the 1000 by 2025 Initiative, which has an ambitious goal of adding 1,000 Black and Latino teachers to faculty positions in Duval County by 2025.

Since the initiative launched in 2021, it has been a success. Since implementation of the 1000-2025 Rule began in 2021, the number of Black and Latinx teachers has increased by 12%. According to JPEF officials, Duval County has hired 93 male teachers of color for the 2022-2023 school year and 62 for the 2024-2024 school year.

Of the original 540 diverse male teachers in 2021, 71% are still employed by the school district, showing that program efforts are paying off despite the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, rising inflation, and diverse teacher retirements, resignations, and terminations. contracts. It should be noted that 35 people are no longer teachers and most of them have been promoted.

School district officials are undeterred.

“Given the overall teacher shortages we are seeing across the country, we are fortunate to maintain our current percentage of diverse male teachers,” Victoria Schultz, the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, said in a statement. “While we have made progress toward our recruitment goals, we must make every effort to retain our current, highly effective teachers.

The teachers in question see first-hand the difference it can make for students to have teachers who know and understand them.

Dimas Vidales, a Latino educator in Duval County, says teachers who reflect student demographics are essential to children’s learning.

“Who better than a Latino teacher to teach students of the same background? Connecting while teaching makes everything more connected and intrapersonal,” Vidales said. “Students need teachers who can add a touch of understanding and sensitivity to a culturally responsive classroom.”

Rasheed Reed knows that students aren’t the only ones who benefit from diversity efforts. Reed, who wanted to change her career by working as a security guard in Duval County schools, currently teaches fifth grade.

He took these steps to provide students with a teacher they could identify with.

“I really want to make sure they are heard,” Reed said. “The more and more I teach, I want it to be more of them and less of me.”

More information about the 1000 by 2025 initiative can be found at teacherduval.com.

By meerna

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