Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

What is Mounds View doing to recruit more teachers of color?

Mounds View participates in state-wide programs that aim to increase staff diversity in Minnesota, but progress remains to be seen.
Charlotte Krum

In educational settings, a diverse school staff plays a crucial role in fostering a sense of representation, security, safety and involvement among students of color. Research published in Scientific American shows a positive correlation between academic achievement and the support provided by teachers who share the same racial or ethnic background as their students. 

Despite the benefits, in the United States, and even more so in Minnesota, teachers of color are greatly underrepresented in schools. While 36.7% of Minnesota students and 34% of Mounds View High School students are non-white, only 5.9% of teachers at public schools in Minnesota are teachers of color, and Mounds View has only two such educators. 

Non-white students make up around 34% of Mounds View’s student body, while non-white teachers make up around 2% of the staff.

According to Education Week, one factor contributing to the lack of diversity is the historical aftermath of the 1954 Supreme Court ruling of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. This ruling resulted in the loss of jobs for many teachers of color, as many schools formerly for non-white students were closed while formerly all-white schools remained open, creating a persistent diversity gap.

Location is also a significant factor in the challenge of hiring teachers of color. According to USA Facts, 51% of black teachers work in cities, and 85% work in schools where at least 50% of the student population is non-white. Despite efforts by school administrations, the numbers still present a hurdle to achieving more diversity in teaching staff. “Administration is making more of an effort to hire teachers of color; it’s just harder because of the number differences [of racial makeup],” said Anny Culnane, physical education teacher and one of Mounds View’s few staff members of color. 

So, how is the district working to address this challenge? When questioned about efforts to address the lack of diversity among teaching staff, Executive Director of Human Resources Julie Coffey cites the Grow Your Own program and the district’s participation in the Teach MN program as district efforts towards a more diverse faculty.

According to the Minnesota Department of Education, the Grow Your Own (GYO) approach establishes partnerships between educator preparation programs, school districts and community organizations to recruit and prepare local community members for teaching roles. GYO programs provide support, including stipends and scholarships, to adults interested in pursuing a teaching career. The Grow Your Own Grant Program, initiated in 2016, offers state funds to districts and charter schools for GYO initiatives. The program has two pathways: one for adults — supporting teacher preparation programs — and another for secondary students — encouraging them, especially those of color, to pursue teaching careers through various support mechanisms, such as supporting future teacher clubs, and scholarships. 

As stated on the website, Teach Minnesota is a teaching fellow program that allows educators to be trained in an alternative way that is more accelerated and cost-effective. The program began in 2022, and one of its main purposes is to give more graduates of different backgrounds opportunities to become teachers without having cost as a barrier.

In addition to government funding for Grow Your Own programs, in February 2023, the Minnesota House education panel approved the Increase Teachers of Color Act. According to the Minnesota House of Representatives, this bill aims to increase the percentage of teachers of color or American Indian by at least two percentage points per year. The goal of this bill is to develop a teaching workforce that more closely reflects the student population by 2040. The bill will allocate over $60 million per year from the state to recruit and retain teachers of color.

While Mounds View is participating in state-wide diversity initiatives, progress remains to be seen. Mounds View’s faculty diversity gap persists even as the student body becomes more diverse, this begs the question: Should Mounds View do more to close the gap?

Is Mounds View doing enough to recruit teachers of color?


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About the Contributors
Liliana Peleska
Liliana Peleska, Staff Reporter
Liliana is a junior staff reporter, and this year is her first year on The Viewer.
Charlotte Krum
Charlotte Krum, Good Questions Editor
Hi! My name is Charlotte, and I’m a senior. This is my second year with The Viewer. I’m very excited to be an illustrator and the Good Question Editor 2023-2034 school year! I enjoy playing tennis, figure skating, drawing and listening to music.
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