JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF) says it plans to hire and retain 1,000 Hispanic and Black male teachers by 2025.
"We wanted to make this an aggressive but achievable goal," Jacksonville Public Education Fund Vice President Coretta Hill said.
JPEF is currently holding focus groups with Black and Hispanic males teachers in Duval County to gather feedback and identify potential ambassadors for its marketing campaign in the spring.
"What we heard from that process was actually Black and Latino male teachers want to see more of themselves in the profession. They also don't feel valued as compared with not seeing themselves across the system and they want more professional development opportunities as well," Hill said.
JPEF, DCPS and the University of North Florida are three of the major players involved.
DCPS says 43 percent of students there are African American, but the teaching force has less than 3 percent African American males.
JPEF says having just one African American male teacher in elementary school can reduce high school dropout rates by 39 percent.
"The time is now to invest in educator diversity as I said before it's a clear path towards increasing the pipeline and a clear path towards making sure our students are given the best opportunity to be successful," Hill added.
The University of North Florida recently published an economic impact study. It found that for every scholarship it offered to a student of a diverse background the return on investment was $1 million.