Posted on January 28, 2022

Most Teachers Are White. Most Students Aren’t.

Russell Contreras, Axios, January 23, 2022

The nation’s 6.6 million teacher workforce has grown more racially and ethnically diverse over the past three decades — but not nearly fast enough to keep pace with a student population that’s nearing majority-minority in public schools, two new reports show.

Why it matters: The disparities are especially acute between Hispanic students and teachers, and in schools with 90% or higher non-white student populations.

  • Recruitment is only part of the problem; experts tell Axios teachers of color are leaving the profession faster than their white counterparts.


By the numbers: 79% of U.S. public school teachers identified as white, non-Hispanic, according to a Pew Research Center analysis released late last year, based on data from the 2017-18 school year, the latest compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics.

  • Fewer than one in 10 teachers was Black (7%), Hispanic (9%) or Asian American (2%).
  • Compare that with the latest available comparable NCES student data from 2018-2019: 47% of all public elementary and secondary school students in the U.S. were white, 27% were Latino, 15% were Black and 5% were Asian American.
  • Between fall 2009 and fall 2018, the percentage of public school students who were Hispanic increased from 22% to 27%.
  • The percentage of public school students who were white decreased from 54% to 47% and the percentage of students who were Black decreased from 17% to 15%, National Center for Education Statistics found.


Details: In swiftly diversifying Houston, the census analyzed 2014-2018 data and found that only 15% of high school students — but about 47% of city teachers — were white.

  • Nationally, in schools where at least 90% were students of color, white teachers were the plurality at 43%, Pew found; 28% of teachers at those schools were Hispanic, 20% were Black and 5% were Asian American.