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Inexperienced, uncredentialed teachers the norm in poor urban schools

The New York Daily News has a special report on how the city’s poorest schools typically have the most inexperienced — and improperly licensed — teachers.

These schools also are predominately populated by black and Hispanic students.

The Daily News found 21 schools that had at least 50 percent of the teaching staff with three years of experience or less.

From the report:

In the 25 schools with the highest percentage of classes taught by teachers outside of their credentialed subject areas, almost all of the 8,000 students affected were black and Hispanic, and all of the schools were found in the Bronx, Brooklyn or Manhattan. The instructors taught at least 35% of the classes at those schools.

City officials said this often means that teachers may be doubling up in similar subjects, such as biology and earth science.

On the flip side, 12 of the 25 city schools with the highest concentration of teachers with masters’ degrees were in Staten Island, where less than one-tenth of all city students reside. But Staten Island kids do better than the city average on math and reading tests.

The difficulty in attracting highly qualified teachers to challenging classrooms is widely acknowledged.

“This is a problem that’s baked into the system,” said Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform. “We need to find creative ways to address it.”

But, unfortunately, the “creative ways” New York and other large cities are utilizing in terms of the student discipline issues such schools typically face will do anything but attract experienced and knowledgeable teachers.

The authors of the Daily News piece, as is all-too common, imply the matter is simply one of race … merely noting that many of these schools have “troubled classrooms.”

Read the full report.

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IMAGE: Merrimack College/Flickr

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