U.S. Teachers Are Nowhere Near as Diverse as Their Students

NBC News, May 4, 2014

Almost half the students attending public schools are minorities, yet fewer than 1 in 5 of their teachers is nonwhite.

New studies from the Center for American Progress and the National Education Association are calling attention to this “diversity gap” at elementary and secondary schools in the United States. The groups want more to be done to help teachers more accurately mirror the students in their classrooms.

There were about 3.3 million teachers in American public elementary and secondary schools in 2012, according to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics. It said 82 percent were white, 8 percent were Hispanic, 7 percent were black and about 2 percent were Asian.

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The Center for American Progress’ most recent statistics show 48 percent of the students in public schools are nonwhite–23 percent Hispanic, 16 percent black and 5 percent Asian–and that percentage is expected to continue to increase.

“We project that this fall, for the first time in American history, the majority of public school students in America will be nonwhite,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said last week.

It becomes easier for students to believe “when they can look and see someone who looks just like them, that they can relate to,” said Kevin Gilbert, coordinator of teacher leadership and special projects for the Clinton Public School District in Clinton, Mississippi. {snip}

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