Where are the teachers of color?

Today, a student in America can go from kindergarten to college and never have one teacher of color.  In a nation where minorities are a growing share of the 50 million children in public schools, the proportion of teachers who are racial minorities has not kept up: More than 80 percent of teachers are white

Education released a report last week titled “The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce,” in conjunction with the National Summit on Teacher Diversity held at the Department.

The report noted a lack of racial diversity among teachers at public elementary and secondary schools across the nation. Less than one in five U.S. public school teachers — 18 percent — are individuals of color, while approximately half —49 percent — of public elementary and secondary school students are individuals of color.

That means today, a student in America can go from kindergarten to college and never have one teacher of color.  In a nation where minorities are a growing share of the 50 million children in public schools, the proportion of teachers who are racial minorities has not kept up: More than 80 percent of teachers are White.

Buffalo reflects the disparity. According to Samuel L. Radford, III, president of the District Parent Coordinating Council, the city’sminority population stands at 75% minorityand only 9% of the teachers are African American.

StatedSecretary of Education John B. King Jr. at the summit:  “It’s important for students of color to have role models who look like them and share common experiences. It’s just as important for all students to see teachers of color in leadership roles in their classrooms and communities. We must work together to support states and districts as they work to prepare, hire, support, and retain a more diverse teacher workforce.”

Secretary King has reportedly prioritized supporting and lifting up the teaching profession and is committed to supporting efforts to increase diversity in the teaching profession so that our teaching force more closely reflects the increasingly diverse student population it serves.

The Reportmade the followingfindings and observations:

“Since teachers of color can be positive role models for all students in breaking down negative stereotypes and in preparing students to live and work in a multiracial society, this diversity gap suggests that the U.S. public school system is not reaping the known benefits we could experience if we had greater diversity in the teacher workforce. 

The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce documentalso highlights a potential reason for this gap in the fact that students of color are underrepresented in teacher prep programs; only 26% of enrollees in teacher prep program are students of color.

-Black Male Figures even Worse-

“Research shows that diversity in schools, including racial diversity among teachers, can provide significant benefits to students. While students of color are expected to make up 56 percent of the student population by 2024, the elementary and secondary educator workforce is still overwhelmingly White. 

“In fact, the most recent U.S. Department of Education Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), a nationally representative survey of teachers and principals, showed that 82 percent of public school teachers identified as White. This figure has hardly changed in more than 15 years; data from a similar survey conducted by the Department in 2000 found that 84 percent of teachers identified as White. In addition, Black men make up only 2 percent of the teaching workforce nationwide.!

The report continued: “Improving teacher diversity can help all students. Teachers of color are positive role models for all students in breaking down negative stereotypes and preparing students to live and work in a multiracial society. A more diverse teacher workforce can also supplement training in the culturally sensitive teaching practices most effective with today’s student populations.