More Teachers of Color Needed in Classrooms

The student body in America has become increasingly diverse, yet according to The Study of Racial Diversity In the Educator Workforce, a report released recently by the United States Department of Education, racial diversity amongst staff doesn’t reflect the same change.

During a talk given at Howard University, the second top ranking Historically Black College and University in the country, Education Secretary John B. King, Jr said,

“Without question, when the majority of students in public schools are students of color and only 18 percent of our teachers are teachers of color, we have an urgent need to act. We’ve got to understand that all students benefit from teacher diversity. We have strong evidence that students of color benefit from having teachers and leaders who look like them as role models and also benefit from the classroom dynamics that diversity creates. But it is also important for our white students to see that teachers of color in leadership roles in their classrooms and communities. The question for the nation is how do we address this quickly and thoughtfully? “

The new study, which was released early March, shows that during the 2011-12 school year, 82 percent of elementary and secondary public school teachers were white in comparison to 51 percent of public school children being white. “In contrast, 16 percent of students were black, and 7 percent of public teachers were black.”

In addition to teachers being mostly white, the reports states that “for the most part, principals are also a racially homogenous group.” For nearly a decade the percentage of white public school principals have been between 80-82 percent.

To reverse these trends, or to at the very least incorporate some diversity within schools programs like Teach Tomorrow in Oakland aim to recruit and develop programs to have whatever racial demographic a student population leans towards be reflected with teachers.

In addition, President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget incorporates a variety of proposals that offer to alter the diversity issue.


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