School system reports sharp rise in minority teacher hiring

February 26, 1993|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Staff Writer

The Howard County school system hired more minority teachers last year than in the past five years, according to an education department report submitted last night to the school board.

The school system hired 32 minority teachers: 25 blacks, four Hispanics, two Asians and one Native American, according to the report.

One hundred and eighty-five teachers were hired last year: 63 percent of them were white females; about 15 percent were minority females; nearly 20 percent were white males; and about 3 percent were minority males, the report said.

Director of Personnel Al Tucci, who presented the report, told the board that the school system hired five black males last year, more than in any one year in the past decade. "There was a demand and there was a market," he said.

Mr. Tucci also reported that:

* Forty-one male teachers were hired last year, the highest total since 1980, when the same number was hired.

* Half of the teachers who were hired last year had no experience except for student-teaching as part of their college program.

* The county's teacher turnover rate is 6.3 percent, up from 5.9 percent in 1991 and still a little less than the 7 percent industrywide.

"We're really near what is considered optimal," Mr. Tucci said. "Too much lower is considered stagnant."

* Of the more than 150 teachers who left the school system last year, 66 resigned, 60 retired, 23 took leave of absences and six either were laid off or their contracts were not renewed. Mr. Tucci said many teachers who retired last year did so to take advantage of the school system's early retirement incentive plan.

School board Chairman Dana Hanna said that while the school system had made strides, it could do more to attract minority applicants. He suggested the school system develop ties with black organizations to help recruit candidates.

Mr. Tucci said that his office had reached out to Morgan State University, a predominantly black college in Baltimore, to place student-teachers in county classrooms. The networking has resulted in nearly 30 Morgan State student-teachers' coming to the county for their classroom experience, a number that has more than tripled since about three years ago.

Also in last night's meeting, Wilde Lake High School principal Bonnie Daniel gave a presentation of her school, which is caught in the middle of a controversy as the system begins redistricting discussions.

School officials plan to redistrict by shifting some Centennial High School students to Wilde Lake -- a proposal that is opposed by Centennial parents who don't want their children to change schools.

Centennial parents also are concerned because Wilde Lake's test scores are the lowest in the county, although they are higher than state and national averages. But Ms. Daniel told the board that no Wilde Lake student has failed to pass state functional tests that are required for graduation.

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