Washington, D.C. — A new analysis from the Center for American Progress shows a staggering shortage of teachers of color in relation to the number of students of color. Although people of color constitute more than one-third of the U.S. labor force and student populations continue to diversify, less than 20 percent of teachers identify as people of color.
CAP’s 2017 column uses the most recent available data from state education agencies for the analysis.
Our analysis found that California has the largest gap—40 percentage points—between nonwhite students and teachers. Other states with large percentages of nonwhite students also fare poorly in CAP’s analysis.
“All students, especially students of color, should see teachers of color in front of the classroom. We know from research that teacher diversity helps increase academic achievement, high school completion and college attendance rates among students of color which is why, on a policy level, we must do more to identify, attract, and develop educators of color,” said Stephenie Johnson, associate campaign director of K-12 education policy at CAP.
“Our country and our schools are rapidly becoming more diverse but our teacher workforce isn’t reflecting the world around it. This concerning disconnect in student and teacher diversity highlights the need for a more inclusive teacher pipeline which will benefit all students,” said Catherine Brown, vice president of education policy at CAP.
CAP first released a “teacher diversity index” in 2011 and then again in 2014. In 2014, the number of students of color exceeded the percentage of white students in U.S. public schools for the first time ever. Today, the gap in some states remains enormous. In California, for instance, there’s a 40 percentage-point gap between the percent of nonwhite students and nonwhite teachers. Other states such as Texas and Illinois have similarly large gaps. This analysis includes the 19 states that make this data available on their state education office’s website.
Click to read “Revisiting the Persistent Teacher Diversity Problem” by Catherine Brown and Ulrich Boser.