WESTBURY, LONG ISLAND: Disparities in public education made worse and created by COVID-19 is the latest finding from a study at Hofstra University. The study shows far too few teachers of color in public schools on Long Island. The depth and breadth of the learning experience are lacking this foundation of color and a multitude of voices.
No Black Teachers
The research at the National Center for Suburban Studies took a look at 642 public schools. They found as many as 61 percent of them had no Black teachers. 43 percent of them had no Latino teachers. “If this were a story in Mississippi or Alabama, I’d say, ‘Well, it’s the vestiges of Jim Crowe,’ but this is up on Long Island,’ said Larry Levy, Vice president, Economic Development and Professional Studies at Hofstra.
Many teachers are retiring and they are leaving in droves, according to Brandy Scott of the Long Island Black Educators Association. In conducting the study, Hofstra spoke to dozens of minority teachers and administrators in Long Island public schools. They spoke of having no mentors, and some used to word ‘isolated’ to describe and explain the situation. There are few role models. This is especially true for young boys.
At-Risk Black Youth, Latino Students
Black children have a great possibility of staying in school if they have a teacher of color. This is particularly true in the third or fourth grade. As a result, not be suspended. Districts like Westbury face many challenges. But is 70 percent of the student population is Latino. Though there is progress. Otherwise, there may be problems that would be devastating. As a result, if the children don’t speak English as a second language, it would be a significant barrier, according to Westbury parent Melissa Valerio.
Embracing Diversity Going Forward
The Hofstra University researchers are hopeful that the state will reward districts who embrace diversity. As of right now, where things stand, there are only 212,000 Long Island children that face not seeing a Black teacher in school.