The Albert Shanker Institute recently released findings from their study titled: The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education. The examined teacher diversity from 2002 to 2012 in nine major American cities: Boston, Chicago, Clevland, LA, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington D.C.
Findings from the study revealed that the number of teachers of colour has dropped over the past decade across all nine cities. Albert Green from The Atlantic noted “Despite the fact that more students of color will be filling classrooms at increasing increments every school year, it’s a well reported fact that almost 80 percent of their teachers are white—and it doesn’t appear that that will change any time soon.” Green concludes his article asking pertinent questions in attracting and retaining effective teachers of colour. He says:
It is no longer a question of, do we need teachers of color? There is no shortage of data that shows that minority teachers not only help improve the outcomes of students who share their background, but also that of academic performance of students of all races are improved. The questions now are: What can be done to curb the high-attrition rates for minority teachers, and will addressing hiring disparities for black and Hispanic teachers do enough to equalize students’ attainment levels?
The Albert Shanker Institute reports outlines a number of recommendations on a local, state, and national level. Some of these recommendations include:
- To increase the number of highly qualified minority teachers—and particularly Black, Hispanic and American Indian teachers—entering the profession, the U.S. Education Department and the state departments of education should invest in and support high-quality teacher education programs at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the nation’s Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) and public colleges and universities serving large numbers of minority students.
- To ensure that novice teachers are well prepared to enter the classroom and receive the mentoring and support they need to be successful, the U.S. Education Department and the state departments of education should establish incentives for close partnerships between colleges of education, on the one hand, and school districts and charter networks, on the other hand. Particular attention needs to be paid to providing adequate mentoring, support and training in culturally responsive practices to novice teachers—of all races and ethnicities—working in the challenging conditions of high-poverty, de facto racially segregated schools
- Urban school districts, district schools, charter networks and charter schools should develop close partnerships with colleges of education to ensure that an increased supply of well-qualified Black and Hispanic teachers are prepared to teach in city schools.
The Albert Shanker Institute Study:
The Atlantic Article: