YORK, Pa. — Pennsylvania will be receiving 4.5 billion in emergency relief funding for schools across the commonwealth.
Some educators want some of that money to be used for programs that have been shown to increase diversity in schools.
“Let’s invest some funds into what it would take to diversify the teacher pipeline. We not only need teachers but also school leaders of color to join the workforce," said Dr. Tanya I. Garcia, the Acting Deputy Secretary and Commissioner for Postsecondary and Higher Education at the PA Dept. of Education.
According to the ESSA Leadership Learning Community, in the 2019-2020 school year, the share of students of color in Pennsylvania was six times greater than the share of teachers of color.
“A disparity that is more than twice the national average."
Currently, only three counties in Pennsylvania have reported a double digit percentage of teachers of color in their workforce.
"With the help of these American rescue funds to advance these efforts it really is a great opportunity. we need to be doing everything we can to recruit more diverse candidates into this profession and encourage them to stick with it," said Chris Lilienthal, the Assistant Director of Communications of the PA State Education Association
Ben Fazio from Carlisle, who has a daughter in kindergarten says he doesn’t disagree that part of the funding go towards bringing more educators of color into the schools and classrooms.
“I don’t care color, race, I don’t care who the teacher is as long as they can teach and have a good head on their shoulders and they know how to teach a class," said Fazio.
Educators say there are 1,500 schools and 184 school districts across Pennsylvania that don’t have any teachers of color.