More Teacher Diversity Needed

(Photo by Stephanie Snyder via Chalkbeat)

In New York City’s schools, 83 percent of the students are Asian, Black or Latino, but only 39 percent of the teachers are. That’s the finding of Education Trust-New York, an advocacy group that tries to improve outcomes for students of color, based on data it reviewed for 2015-2016.

That disparity in diversity, reports Monica Disare in Chalkbeat, is troubling, because research shows that “while students of color can develop deep ties with any teacher, there is evidence that having a teacher who resembles them can help improve their test scores, provide them a role model, and raise expectations of what they can accomplish.”

“We know from powerful national research the importance of an educator workforce that is highly skilled, well-prepared, and diverse,” said Ian Rosenblum, the [Education-Trust New York’s] executive director.

The disparity masks some even more glaring gaps:

A full 88 schools (6 percent) have no Latino teachers, 144 schools (9 percent) lack a single black teacher, and 327 schools (21 percent) have zero Asian teachers on staff.

A diverse teaching staff is important not just for the students of color, but also for white students.

Without teacher diversity, white students — like their non-white peers — may be ill-equipped to enter increasingly diverse workplaces, said Rosenblum of EdTrust-NY.

“It’s important that all students see people of color in positions of authority,” he said. “Especially if you think about the fact that there are so many highly segregated schools where students may not interact with many peers of other races or ethnicities.”

Go to Chalkbeat to read what one Latina teacher had to say about the experiences she had growing up, and why she believes it’s so important for there to be more diversity among teachers.

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