Chicago aldermen call on school district to hire more Latinos | WBEZ
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Chicago aldermen call on school district to hire more Latinos

Members of the Chicago City Council’s Latino Caucus are calling on the school district to hire more Latinos as teachers, principals, and administrators.

The push comes after WBEZ reported on the gap between the percentages of Latino teachers and Latino students. Data shows the percentage of Hispanic teachers is crawling upward, but not enough to keep pace with the rapidly growing Hispanic student population. Latino students now make up the largest ethnic group in Chicago Public Schools, at 46 percent.

“We knew the trend was sort of creeping up on us, and I think we were at that point where we can’t wait any longer,” said Alderman George Cardenas,12th Ward and chair of the Latino Caucus.

Cardenas said the Caucus wants to meet with CPS leadership on a monthly basis.

Freshman Alderman Milly Santiago, 31st Ward, said the lack of Latino teachers in the CPS has always been low and called on the district to adopt a new formula for recruiting bilingual teachers.

She also took Emanuel to task for not appointing any Latinos to top positions in the most recent leadership shake-up.

“The most recent appointment of the new CPS school board also leaves the Latino community in another disadvantage with only one Hispanic member,” Santiago said in an email. “This is not a fair balance nor a good democratic process when it comes to managing the future of our children's education.”

Cardenas cited data from the Illinois State Board of Education that lists just 4.8 percent of all teachers in CPS as Hispanic. However, the year before, the percentage of Hispanic teachers hit a record high 15.1 percent.

CPS officials couldn’t explain the discrepancy with its own numbers, but said the numbers on their website are more accurate. According to district data, 18.6 percent of the CPS teacher workforce is Hispanic. WBEZ has a pending FOIA request for a school-by-school breakdown of teacher demographics.

Research has shown that racial diversity among teachers impacts the academic achievement of students.

Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can reach her at bvevea@wbez.org and follow her @WBEZeducation.

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