Washington, D.C. — A quarter of all students are Latinx, but less than 8 percent of the nation’s teaching workforce identify as such. Today, the Center for American Progress released new state-by-state figures showing that there is a Latinx teacher diversity gap in 40 of the 41 states with available data. In fact, the teacher diversity gap is larger for Latinx students than for other ethnic minority groups, and now the careers of tens of thousands of DACAmented teachers—and the education of hundreds of thousands of students—hang in the balance.
The states with the largest Latinx gap—California, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas—are also the states with the largest percentage of Latinx students. Teacher diversity, however, is becoming increasingly important in rural areas with fast-growing Latinx communities where diverse teaching workforces are extremely low.
“The benefits of teacher diversity are clear, yet too many Latinx students with unique cultural and linguistic needs rarely encounter teachers who share and understand their ethnic background,” said Sarah Shapiro, research assistant for K-12 Education at the Center for American Progress. “Diversifying the teacher workforce is critical for improving educational outcomes for Latinx students, in addition to supporting students of color. We must improve the Latinx educational pipeline by increasing financial aid for Latinxs in college and teaching credential programs and provide new avenues for alternative certification, not threaten, the DACAmented teachers now at risk of deportation.”
“Latinx students are the largest minority group in American schools, yet they rarely have a chance to be taught by someone from their community,” said Lisette Partelow, director of K-12 Strategic Initiatives at CAP. “We can and must do more to recruit, develop, and retain Latinx teachers as an important strategy for improving the educational outcomes and attainment of all students. In addition to permanent protections for DACAmented teachers, reducing the debt burden of prospective Latinx teachers and continuing to recruit Latinx teachers to high-quality alternative certification programs can help increase the number of Latinx teachers.”
Yet, systematic educational achievement barriers, compounded by the Trump administration’s rescinding of DACA and drastic proposed cuts to federal education spending, will exacerbate an already pressing problem—the shortage of Latinx teachers in our schools—and continue to keep teachers of color out of the classroom.
This paper provides the following policy recommendations for increasing the number of Latinx teachers:
- Pass a clean Dream Act
- Increase federal funding to attract more Latinx students to education colleges
- Attract Latinx students to high quality alternative certification
Click here to read “The Latinx Teacher Diversity Gap is Large and Growing: Here’s How to Fix It” by Sarah Shapiro and Lisette Partelow
- “Revisiting the Persistent Teacher Diversity Problem” by Catherine Brown and Ulrich Boser
- “America Needs More Teachers of Color and a More Selective Teaching Profession” by Lisette Partelow, Angie Spong, Catherine Brown, and Stephanie Johnson
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Rafael J. Medina at gro.ssergorpnacirema@anidemjr or 202-748-5313.