Why do we care about the proportion of student diversity to teacher diversity? Good question.
Studies from Florida, Tennessee, and North Carolina demonstrate that black students perform better in math and reading when same-race teachers are involved. In one North Carolina study, the dropout rate for low-income black students decreased by 39% when a same-race teacher was engaged in their elementary school education.
Understandably, the racial and ethnic population of the public student body has changed in the past 35 years. The decrease in the White student population from 71% to 47 % is remarkable.
White teachers represent 79% of the educators now, down from 87%. In fact, 40% of schools in America do not have teachers of color. An opportunity in race relations development is lost when school-age children cannot observe or experience a diverse teacher population.
Right now, 29% of the teacher population is over 50 years old and is white and female. The next ten years could see a significant change in teacher demographics as this group retires. The assumption, of course, is that students will continue to receive a portion of their education within brick-and-mortar school buildings.
The teacher-student diversity gap is best exemplified by the woefully inadequate 6-point increase in Hispanic teachers in the past 35 years. In this same period, a 16% increase in Hispanic student population occurred. The diversity gap now stands at 27% Hispanic students versus 9% Hispanic teachers.
The proportion of Black teachers has slightly decreased over the same period. A 1% increase in black student population was met with a 1-point decrease in black teacher diversity. The black teacher-black student gap remains significant with 15% of the student population and only 7% of the teacher population .
Closing the diversity gap between teachers and students in public schools is challenging. We all need to encourage the participation of more ethnic teachers and we need to develop tools and approaches to facilitate this result.
If you’re a person of color, be the change you wish to see in public education and consider becoming a teacher. There isn’t an age restriction. You can begin now. Diversity within educational reform is essential if we are to maintain and improve the standard of living for all Americans.
The Reform Party’s position on education ensures equal access and locally appropriate diversity. Please visit our website for more information on the Reform Party’s solutions: https://reformparty.org/our-solutions/education/
You can help the Reform Party in its effort to reform public education by becoming a Reform Party candidate in your county or community. If this is not possible, please consider donating to the Reform Party to support candidates who have the same priorities as you: