You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

US-World education

  • Colleges woo Native Americans with new programs
    Elijah Watson knows he wants to go to college. He also knows that it will be difficult to leave home on the Navajo reservation if he does.
  • Governors group skirts 'radioactive' Common Core
    Reviled by staunch conservatives, the common education standards designed to improve schools and student competitiveness are being modified by some Republican governors, who are pushing back against what they call the federal
  • US students in middle of pack on financial knowhow
    The United States runs in the middle of the pack when it comes to the financial knowledge and skills of 15-year-old boys and girls, according to an international study released Wednesday.
Advertisement

Diversity lacks among teachers

Less than 1 in 5 in US minorities

Gilbert

– U.S. teachers are nowhere near as diverse as their students.

Almost half the students attending public schools are minorities, yet less than 1 in 5 of their teachers is nonwhite.

New studies from the Center for American Progress and the National Education Association are calling attention to this “diversity gap” at elementary and secondary schools in the United States. 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.”

More than minority students would benefit from a more diverse teacher corps, said Ulrich Boser, the author of the center’s report.

“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.

Students are a different story. In 1993, minority students made up 31 percent of the public school population; it was 41 percent in 2003.

The Center for American Progress’ most recent statistics show 48 percent of the students in public schools are nonwhite – 23 percent Hispanic, 16 percent black and 5 percent Asian – and that percentage is expected to continue to increase.

“We project that this fall, for the first time in American history, the majority of public school students in America will be nonwhite,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said last week.

Hispanics have passed blacks as the largest minority group of teachers, just as there are more Hispanic students than blacks in the public school system.

This tracks with the increases in the number of Hispanics in the United States, with Hispanics the largest minority group in the country and the fastest-growing.

Advertisement