At some point over the next decade, the nation’s public school K-12 student body will have no one clear racial or ethnic majority, and students of color will constitute more than half of the student population. But the makeup of the nation’s teacher workforce force has not kept up with these changing demographics. At the national level, students of color make up more than 40 percent of the public school population. In contrast, teachers of color are only 17 percent of the teaching force.
The lack of diversity in the teaching force is troubling. Increasing the number of teachers of color is not just a matter of philosophical commitment to diversity in career opportunities. While there are effective teachers of many races, teachers of color have demonstrated success in engaging students of similar backgrounds. Teachers of color serve as role models for students, giving them a clear and concrete sense of what diversity looks like in the workplace. A recent review of empirical studies shows that students of color do better on a variety of academic outcomes if they are taught by teachers of color.
Join us for a conversation with leading thinkers on the importance of increasing teacher diversity in our nation’s schools. We will launch the discussion with a paper by Ulrich Boser that analyzes the scope of the teacher-student diversity differential across all fifty states. Saba Bireda will discuss the paper coauthored with Robin Chait, Strategies to Increase Teacher Diversity in the Workforce. We will be joined by a distinguished panel of advocates working to increase teacher diversity and ensure that all students have access to effective teachers.
Glenda Partee, Associate Director for Teacher Quality, Education Policy, Center for American Progress