According to a report released by the Center for American Progress and the National Education Association, U.S. teachers are nowhere near as diverse as their students.

The report seeks to call attention to what researchers refer to as the “diversity gap” at elementary and secondary schools in the country. 

From Associated Press:

Almost half the students attending public schools are minorities, yet fewer than 1 in 5 of their teachers is nonwhite. […]The groups want more to be done to help teachers more accurately mirror the students in their classrooms.

Teachers are always pushing their students to excel, said Kevin Gilbert, coordinator of teacher leadership and special projects for the Clinton Public School District in Clinton, Mississippi.

It becomes easier for students to believe “when they can look and see someone who looks just like them, that they can relate to,” said Gilbert, a member of the NEA’s executive committee. “Nothing can help motivate our students more than to see success standing right in front of them.”

Read more at Associated Press

It’s not just minority students who would benefit from a more diverse crop of teachers, said Ulrich Boser, the report’s author. “Even in a place like North Dakota, where the students aren’t particularly diverse relative to the rest of the country, it’s important for our social fabric, for our sense as a nation, that students are engaging with people who think, talk and act differently than them but can also be just as effective at raising student achievement in the classroom,” he said.

There were about 3.3 million teachers in American public elementary and secondary schools in 2012, according to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics. It said 82 percent were white, 8 percent were Hispanic, 7 percent were black and about 2 percent were Asian.


How should officials go about addressing the lack of diversity in the teaching field?

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