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TeachNY targets teacher shortages & diversity

WBFO News file photo

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher will be bringing her campaign to support teachers to the University at Buffalo Tuesday. Zimpher will be leading a public forum from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at UB's at Hayes Hall on UB's South Campus. New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia is also expected to appear. Zimpher is hosting listening tours as part of TeachNY, a statewide initiative designed to improve the way teachers are prepared and address the teacher shortage. 

“This is meant to tackle not only the teachers shortage, but also numerous other issues that are going on with education as of lately,” said Tyler McNeil, Press Secretary, SUNY Student Assembly. 

The initiative was introduced in May and the Student Assembly has come out in support of this effort. It calls to transform teacher education programs. McNeil said they're trying to restore former teacher education programs that worked.

“We also want to incentivize schools that host pre-service teachers. This is down right now by a lot of hospitals. We want the same thing to happen with in public schools,” McNeil explained. 

According to the TeachNY advisory council, the state’s need for teachers is expected to increase by 5.8 percent come 2022. Over the next decade, there will be a call for 1.6 million new teachers nationwide.   

The initiative also calls to address the need for more diversity in the teaching profession.

"Right now, I believe the level of white teachers is above 80-percent," noted McNeil. 

Credit WBFO News file photo
Makowski school in Buffalo has a diverse population of students.

Federal data shows high numbers of white, female teachers, yet minorities make up the majority of the student populations in urban public school districts. 

“We want to start a new Urban-Rural Teachers Corps and we want to make sure there is a way that we can recognize educators when they make professional milestones within education, because we believe that’s important,” McNeil remarked.

The SUNY Student Assembly group wants to make sure their students go through the right system to succeed in higher education. 

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