WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES JANUARY 9, 2020 15
Board of Regents proposes expanding
programs to increase teacher diversity
BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELLDOMENECH
A bill protecting school bus
driver seniority rights,
wages and benefits in new
route hires was vetoed by Governor
Andrew Cuomo last week.
“The inclusion of these provisions
is both anti-competitive as
well as cost-inf lating,” Cuomo
wrote in the bill’s veto memo.
In 2011, the New York state court
of appeals ruled that the provision
protections failed to improving
competition or save money.
“This new bill again fails to address
the cost of these provisions…
there is nothing to prevent the
manipulation of the stated cost
of these provisions that will be
directly attributable to the state
budget,” the governor added.
Two years after the court decision,
the protections were taken
out of school bus driver contracts
under Mayor Micheal Bloomberg,
as part of city austerity measures,
arguing that the cut would save
about $200 million over five
The decision though resulted in
month-long bus driver strike in
The provision protections had
been in place since the 1960s.
Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to
restore the provisions and has
repeatedly tried to push for EPP
to no avail.
In 2016, Cuomo vetoed a similar
bill on the same grounds.
Queens state Senator John Liu,
a backer of the bill, called passing
EPPs “critical” to restoring a bus
city school bus system that is currently
“We can’t leave public school
children and their parents hanging
in the balance,” Liu said.
In a letter to union members,
Michael Cordiello, president of
the Amalgamated Transit Union
Local 1181, said that he and the
union would keep pushing for the
provisions to be protected.
BY ALEJANDRA O'CONNELLDOMENECH
Seeking to remedy the Empire
State’s teacher diversity problem,
the New York Board of Regents
is proposing expanding the Teacher
Opportunity Corps II, a grant that
helps teaching students of color.
In a draft report released in November,
the Board of Regents found
that not a single teacher of color
was employed in 200 districts. The
finalized report, released on Dec.
31, found that 80 percent of New
York state’s teacher’s are white — a
number that has remained constant
from 2011 to 2017.
The number of teachers of color
has increased by 1,400 between 2011
and 2017, according to report. The
majority of the growth has been
witnessed in New York City, with the
number of teachers of color spiraling
downward in most districts, including
in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
As the teacher workforce becomes
less diverse, New York state’s K-12
student body has grown to be over
50 percent students of color. The
report also found a gender disparity,
with the number of female to male
teachers being three to one.
The report also highlighted a
lower retention rate of teachers
of colors, especially Black male
teachers. About 22 percent of
Black teachers did not return to
the classroom following the 2017-18
school year compared to 13 percent
of white teachers, according to data
gathered by The Education Trust–
During that same year, 19 percent
of Latino teachers, 18 percent of
Asian or Native Hawaiian/Pacific
Islander teachers and 17 percent of
Native American instructors also
declined to return to the classroom
that same year.
In order to combat the diversity
disparity, the Board of Regents listed
four areas of investment.
The first called for $3 million in
new state funding to expand the
Teacher Opportunity Corp II, a grant
for teaching students of color. The
funds would be used to increase the
number of TOC II-funded programs
from 16 to 26.
In 2016, the state awarded $3 million
from the My Brother’s Keeper
initiative to fund TOC programs.
Out of the 16 colleges and universities
awarded, seven are in New York
City; Brooklyn College, Hunter College,
Medgar Evers College, Herbert
Lehman College, Manhattan College,
Queens College and the Teachers College
at Columbia University.
At Columbia, the grant allows
for the college to give travel grants
and tuition assistance to twenty
Regents also called for $2.5 million
in state funding to create teacher
preparation programs from “birth to
grade 3” and teacher leader preparation
advanced certificate programs
for “birth to grade 12” for teachers
from underrepresented groups.
The board also called for $2 million
to be used to pilot “Grow Your
Own” programs to help with teacher
shortages in some private schools
teaching students with disabilities
and Special Act school districts.
Finally, the Regents board suggests
$1.2 million in state funding be spent
to increase the number of certification
examination fee waiver vouchers
A stop-arm bus camera of the kind that New York school districts are
considering to stop drivers from going around stopped buses.
Photo Credit: Seon, a Safe Fleet brand
Cuomo vetoes Employee
Protection Provision bill
for school bus drivers