World Teacher’s Day is October 5, it’s a day for celebrating teachers. Few would argue the value of a good teacher. Many nonwhite students, though don’t have teachers that look like them.
According to a new report from the Center for American Progress, (CAP) the percentage of nonwhite students is vastly greater than the percentage of nonwhite teachers. The gap varies by state. California is the worst, where there is a gap of 40 percentage point gap between the percent of nonwhite students and nonwhite teachers. In New Jersey and Delaware, it’s nearly as bad, with a 39-percentage point gap between the between the percent of nonwhite students and nonwhite teachers. In Maryland it’s 36 percentage points and 35 in Connecticut, and 34 in Illinois and Colorado.
The numbers are alarming. According to CAP, 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.
In a statement released with the report, Stephenie Johnson, associate campaign director of K-12 education policy, highlighted the importance of the findings. “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.”
Catherine Brown, vice president of education policy at CAP said, “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.”