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Promoting Teacher Diversity in ICCSD

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--We begin in Iowa City where the school district is looking at ways to diversify its staff positions.

District leaders planned to have five percent minority teachers.

Iowa City Community School District is becoming more diverse.

Right now, 34 percent of their students are minorities it's why school leaders are concerned about the diversity of their staff.

Correne Bass says becoming a teacher was a no-brainer

"My mom was a teacher actually and she is like in her 31st year I want to say, the sixth grade teacher said.

She says seeing the impact, firsthand, that her mom made every day with her students opened her eyes to the importance of the job.

"Knowing that you're kind of helping the next generation find themselves and sort of figure out what they want to do and what they are good at, said Bass, but in the Iowa  City Community School District, teachers like Correne make up just 4.2 percent of the staff. That means out of the district's 990 teachers only 42 are minorities.

"We do try and use efforts to increase our pool of diversity and the pool of candidates that we have, said the districts Director of Equity Ross Wilburn.

Which is part of why the district made a goal of having minority teachers make up 5 percent of the teaching staff during this school year.

While they didn't reach that goal, Wilburn says the district is working with the urban education network, a coalition of Iowas largest school districts to find a solution.

"Trying to look at how they can be some minority recruitment consortium put together. That way we are not stealing diverse teachers from each other here in Iowa, said Wilburn.

Correne says one way to bring more people into the teaching field is through appreciation.

"It's demanding work but it's also really really valuable work and I think helping to, as a country, value our teaching profession more will attract more people, she said.

This is a problem nationwide.

A recent study by the center for American progress shows that minority students make up more than 40 percent of the national public school population, but minority teachers are only 17 percent of the teaching force.
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