RIVERHEAD, N.Y. Nov. 20, 2019 — With New York facing a teacher shortage statewide, the Riverhead Central Faculty Association, United University Professions-Old Westbury and New York State United Teachers on Thursday will hold the latest in a series of summits aimed at encouraging students and career-changers to Take a Look at Teaching.
The Riverhead Take a Look at Teaching Summit will engage teachers, students, higher education faculty and policymakers in a dialogue about how to inspire a new generation to become teachers and help diversify the profession. The summit will take place Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. at Riverhead High School, 700 Harrison Avenue, Riverhead.
Riverhead Central Faculty Association President Gregory Wallace, UUP-Old Westbury members and other local education leaders will join NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene T. DiBrango for small group discussions exploring questions about and possible solutions to the shortage. The shortage has manifested in difficult-to-staff subject areas, such as special education and English as a Second Language, in districts statewide.
The discussions also will delve into the need to diversify the teaching workforce. While 43 percent of students statewide are Hispanic/Latino or African-American, just 16 percent of the teachers are. The state Board of Regents released data earlier this month showing that more than 200 school districts statewide do not employ any teachers of color.
“The teacher shortage is no longer looming. It’s here,” DiBrango said. “Whether for English as a Second Language classes or even math and science classes, we need thousands of new teachers who can help our students flourish and achieve their full potential. The time to reverse this shortage is now.”
Enrollment in New York’s teacher education programs has declined by 53 percent since 2009. At the same time, the state Teacher Retirement System projects that one-third of the state’s teachers could retire in the next five years. SUNY projects that New York will need 180,000 teachers in the next decade.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.