By Paul Jones
As I walk around the high school and peer into the classrooms, I will most likely see the same thing. A group of students, some paying attention and some not, looking toward a teacher who is directing the class.
As long as I do not look into room A210 where Mrs. McKee teachers her Latin classes, I see the same type of male and female. Caucasian. Now in no way is that a bad thing, nor is it major plight against other races, but it does raise a question. Why is it that there is only one teacher of color, Mrs. McKee, in the entire senior high school?
This increasing amount of minorities moving into the area are coming up from Maryland with most of them being African-American. With an increase in African-Americans and other races within the district, that makes it all the more important for the schools to find more teachers of color that the students can identify with.
All the students in the school should have a positive role model that they can look to when they are not home. It is also important that the role model understands where they come from and what types of challenges that they face.
As the world evolves, it becomes more important for students to have many types of teachers to learn from. And not just for those minority students, but for the majority as well so that they can learn from different perspectives.
So once again, why is there only one minority teacher and what is the district doing to diversify?
While this seems like an extremely complex question, it has somewhat of a simple answer.
To find out more about what exactly is going on, I had to talk leader of the high school. By speaking to Central York High School graduate and Principal Mr. Shue, I was able to come up with a sound answer. Mr. Shue is just one of many teachers and administrators that went to high school in this area.
If you speak to some of your teachers and ask them where they went to high school, you will hear names like Central, Dallastown, Dover and of course, Red Lion.
Mr. Shue told me that most college graduates with education degrees will often apply first to the areas where they came from. That makes sense as those potential teachers have a heightened understanding of the area and different challenges that students in the area might go through.
Legally, the district cannot make any offer to a prospective teacher based on race. While that makes it difficult to diversify the staff, there are still ways to do it.
Hiring is headed by the human resources staff and its director and former attorney, Gregory Monskie. While he cannot offer someone a position based on factors like race, he has been doing more in broadening the area in which he posts job vacancies. This means advertising these vacancies more in areas like Maryland and Harrisburg.
Given the present legislation, all I can do is hope that these applicants of minority races do come to and have a chance in Red Lion.
Even with all that being said, Mr. Shue and Mr. Monskie both expressed their desire to have a diverse staff that extended even farther than race and into having teachers from all ages, backgrounds and areas.
The shortage of minority teachers is not just limited to Red Lion. According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Education in 2016, not as many minorities enroll in teacher preparation programs as whites across the country. In addition, minority students complete teacher programs at a lower rate or retain jobs once they are out in the schools.
I believe that while there are still some challenges, the need for teachers of color is still there, no matter what kind of restraints are in place.
I never had someone that I could look up to that looked like me within the school. That makes it all the more important to make sure that the next generation of minorities in Red Lion have some.