Syracuse schools are taking actions that they hope will result in closing the racial gap between students and teachers.

Closing the Racial Gap Between Students and TeachersIn the Syracuse City School District, 76 percent of the students will have very little chance of having a teacher who is not white or shares their skin color.

90 percent of the teachers are white, and the percentage of students of color vastly outnumbers the percentage of teachers of color.

National studies have found consistently that when students have role models with whom they can identify, the consistently perform better.

“It matters to students when they see someone that looks like them,” said Superintendent Sharon Contreras. “They can suddenly see themselves in that position, in that career. It makes a difference in the lives of every student who needs to see teachers of all persuasions, because we live in a multi-racial community.”

A partnership between city schools and Syracuse University has resulted in the Urban Fellowship, a recruiting tool designed to attract more teachers of color to a district where white students are in the minority.

The first class  of fellows will begin in September.  In exchange for a commitment to teach in the district for five years and a promise to live in Syracuse, they will attend Syracuse University’s education school for free.


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