The YES Challenge

The preparation of teachers for an increasingly diverse student population has, without question, impacted the practice of Professional Teacher Preparation Programs across the country. There is growing recognition that teachers who are effectively trained to serve in urban contexts require a specialized set of knowledge, skills and dispositions.  This understanding is confounded by other realities as well…

  • Nationwide, enrollments in university teacher-preparation programs have fallen… with some large states showing program enrollment declines of over 50% in just the past 5 years.
  • In the fall of 2015, for the first time in the history of the United States K-12 public education, the overall number of Latino, African-American, and Asian students in public K-12 classrooms is expected to surpass the number of non-Hispanic White students.
  • The new collective majority of minority schoolchildren—projected to be 50.3 percent by the National Center for Education Statistics—is driven largely by dramatic growth in the Latino population, a decline in the White population, and to a lesser degree, by a steady rise in the number of Asian Americans, while African American growth has been mostly flat.
  • African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American—and even male—teachers are dangerously underrepresented in our schools.
  • Diversity among teachers brings positive images and varied perspectives to ALL students and addresses concerns about the implicit and explicit messages sent to ALL students regarding who creates, carries, and communicates knowledge in our public education system.
  • Quality teaching for ALL depends on a number of factors. However, urban school districts in particular are increasingly challenging teacher preparation institutions to prepare future teachers who are both effective and qualified inn teaching diverse student populations in urban contexts.