Term of Award

Spring 2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 1

Ralph Gornto

Committee Member 2

Georj Lewis

Abstract

In the United States, the Southern states have been impacted drastically by the increasing number of Hispanic and African American residents (Walker, 2009). In October 2005, Georgia had its first student enrollment count in which the state was noted as being a majority-minority public school system, which means more than half of the school population was comprised of non-white individuals (Johnson, 2006). These demographic trends make it necessary for educational leaders in Georgia to examine practices that can positively impact the achievement of all subgroups of students (Walker, 2009). While there is a definite need for high quality teachers in classrooms in order to address the various needs of students, the need is even greater for more minority teachers to be leading the classrooms in most school systems. Minority teachers are currently underrepresented in our public schools. To explore the minority teacher shortage in Southeast Georgia and how educational leaders in this geographical region can increase teacher diversity in their schools, the researcher conducted a study using a mixed methods research design. By surveying and interviewing minority teachers about this relative issue, teachers were able to share their backgrounds, experiences, and thoughts related to the minority teacher shortage in this region along with ideas on how teacher diversity can be increased. All participants in the study were employed by a school system in Southeast Georgia. While the majority of the participants were African American females, there was much diversity with age, education, experience, and background. Through the survey items, the researcher received input on topics related to the minority teacher shortage through the eyes of the teachers currently employed in the district. However, more in depth knowledge was gained through the one on one interviews conducted with the ten minority teachers. The results of the analysis of data from both the surveys and interviews showed that while some of the findings go along with the review of literature on this topic, others do not. Participants in this study had strong family support. They felt their K-12 teachers had high expectations for them, and it was easy for them to build relationships with their teachers, many of whom were Caucasian. The participants had some negative experiences in school, but not enough to deter them from teaching. The participants felt they could make a positive contribution in the lives of minority students due to their backgrounds and experiences. However, the participants strongly agreed that their school system does not do an adequate job of recruiting minority teachers.

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