Minority Teachers: Why our classrooms benefit

The number of minority students enrolled in U.S. schools is growing at a rapid rate, yet student enrollment is not matched by minority teacher representation. The National Center for Education Statistics tells us that nearly 82 percent of public school teachers are white — and Black and Hispanic students are two to three times more common than teachers of the same ethnicity. The gap is typically the widest in areas of the country with high percentages of students of color.

Nationwide, parents and policymakers are highlighting the importance of racial representation in the classroom. Many feel that minority teachers are in a position to put a stop to negative stereotypes and act as role models and mentors for students of color. Teachers who can relate to their students’ backgrounds usually are better able to look past biases of their abilities.

A study in Economics of Education Reviews tell us minority students perform better with minority teachers.

In addition to the challenge of having too few minority teachers, we also see the highest percentage of Black teachers leaving the profession. This is likely because minority teachers tend to work in schools with high rates of poverty.

The¬†education gap is a serious obstacle our country faces – and I think that the “diversity gap” is a major part of our struggle. The education gap is staggering and it is hindering our country socially and economically. We have to find ways to get more teachers of color in the classroom. Students perform better when they can relate to their teachers, and teachers who can relate to their students are less likely to have a preconceived idea of how each student will perform. ¬†We need more teachers of color in our schools acting as strong role models for our minority students.

0 Replies to “Minority Teachers: Why our classrooms benefit”

  1. While that may be the case — I just don’t know how we can suddenly come up with all of these minority educators. I also think it’s good for students to experience teachers of other colors to help them learn acceptance and see that role models are all colors and both men and women.

  2. If I step back and put myself in the shoes of a child, I can see why it is nice to have a teacher “like” you. It makes sense also that minorities can better relate to students of color.

  3. Seeing teachers of color acting as strong role models and mentors is good for students of color – and white students too. I hope that we can find ways to entice more teachers of color into the field so we some racial representation in our schools.

  4. While I agree completely with your premise, it’s important to point out that ALL students, not just minority students, benefit from having minority teachers. It is just as important–perhaps even more so–for non-minority students to see minorities as educated people, experts in their area and in positions of authority. Too many U.S. students go through K-12 without ever having a minority teacher. This effectively reinforces the idea that minorities need always be in subservient positions. Schools are the best place to mitigate or even obliterate this mindset.

  5. As an AA when I was a student I can count on my hand how many teachers represented my race/culture. That was one of the determining factors that made me want to become an educator. There were times when I just need to SEE a tangible representation. Now as an educator in a middle/high school with over 80 staff members (less than 20 AA/Hispanics) it doesn’t surprise me to look up and my classroom is full of students who just want to vent. The opposite happens as well, I have Caucasian students who are part of that population of venting students. YES we need more minority educators and I’m glad someone is finally understanding why.

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