Photo: NYSUT

There are not enough teachers in New York, and that is a trend that will continue, according to recent state and federal data. Riverhead Central School District is taking a proactive stance in recruiting their future teachers.

Members of the community are invited to learn about teaching as a possible career on Thursday, Nov. 21 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Riverhead High School.

The event is hosted by Riverhead Central Faculty Association, SUNY Old Westbury and New York State United Teachers and is part of a series of Take a Look at Teaching summits held across the state. 

The summits aim to bring attention and discuss solutions to the shortage and low diversity in New York’s teaching profession. 

About 180,000 teaching positions will need to be filled in the next decade, with one third of current teachers projected to retire in the next five years, according to data from the NYS Teacher Retirement System. But enrollment in the NYS teacher education programs has decreased by 53 percent since 2009. 

The shortage has begun to affect difficult-to-staff subject areas and high-needs districts, both urban and rural. A decade ago, the U.S. Department of Education identified two areas in New York with a teacher shortage. It has since increased to 16 areas. 

Diversity in the teaching profession is facing issues as well. Nationally, 38 percent of the student populations is Latino or African American, while only eight percent of teachers are Latino and seven percent are African American. By 2020, the percentage of minority students is expected to increase even more to 52 percent. In New York, the ratio is slightly higher, with 43 percent of Latino and African American students compared to 16 percent of teachers. 

For more information about Riverhead’s summit later this month, please contact Greg McCrea at [email protected]518-213-6000, x6557.

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Julia-Anna Searson
Julia-Anna is a Riverhead native and a recent graduate of Stony Brook University, with a degree in Biology and minor in Anthropology. She currently lives in Cutchogue.