Teacher Diversity

Katie Worth Schools in the United States, despite decades of nominally trying to diversify their workforce, still mostly employ white teachers. In a 2011 report titled “Teacher Diversity Matters” by the Center for American Progress, author Ulrich Boser noted that at some point in the next several years, the number of non-Hispanic white children in America’s public schools will be outnumbered by the number of children of color – and in fact, that’s already the case in some states, like California, where 72 percent of students are of color. This diversity is not reflected among the teachers who provide these children with an education: Only 17 percent of the country’s teaching force is non-Hispanic white. In California, just 29 percent of teachers are non-Hispanic whites. In fact, more than 20 states have a disparity of more than 25 percentage points between the diversity of students and teachers. There is evidence that this yawning gap between the ethnic racial heritage of the student body and the people who teach them has an impact on the quality of education. A follow-up to the 2011 study, “Teacher Diversity Revisited,” published in 2014, notes that teachers of color can serve as role models for students of color, and help them feel more at home in schools.  Further, non-white students have better educational outcomes if they are taught by teachers of color. The benefits aren’t just for students of color, either: White students with a diverse teachers profit educationally from interacting with people and authority figures who look differently than they do. But this phenomenon hasn’t been explored on a data level before, so...