Date of Graduation

5-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Graduate School

Advisor

Felicia Lincoln

Committee Member

Thomas Smith

Second Committee Member

Brinck Kerr

Keywords

Education Policy, English Language Learners

Abstract

Although the English Language Learner (ELL) student population is steadily increasing, the American teaching workforce remains mainly white and monolingual. This sector has yet to reflect the change in ELLs and teachers of color, who will be able to adequately provide culturally responsive instruction to these students. There is an urgent need to recruit and train teachers in culturally responsive pedagogy with the purpose of providing educational, cultural and social supports for the growing ELL population in the country (Farahnaz, 2012). Because of this, the American educational system is revamping some of its earlier pedagogical approaches, including the introduction of more culturally responsive pedagogy during instruction, as well as attempting to attract a more diverse teaching workforce (Farahnaz, 2012). The focus of this qualitative study was to investigate the reasons for the lack of minority teachers given the large K-12 ELL Hispanic student population within a school district with an increasing Hispanic population. A stratified purposive sampling method was used because it was imperative to seek the opinions of district administrators at the elementary, middle and secondary school levels within the school district to determine their perceptions about the lack of teacher diversity among ELLs. It is hoped that this information can strengthen the existing body of knowledge concerning language minority learners and the need for diverse teaching faculty and add to the academic discourse surrounding the topic. Primary findings of this study reveal that school districts with large numbers of language minorities must work more closely with nearby teacher education programs in order to help increase the numbers of students of color who enroll in educational programs across the country, thus hopefully increasing the numbers of teachers of color in those districts. The data also suggest that if ELLs are to succeed academically, school districts must adjust their school curricula to include culturally and linguistically diverse forms of instructional strategies that include the cultural representations of the minority student groups they serve. Districts need to focus on grooming their English language learners to pursue educational goals which go beyond a general secondary education.

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