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Report: Few Minority Teachers Entering the Workforce
posted by: Ruthie | March 28, 2013, 05:43 PM   

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, racial minorities are expected to be the majority by 2050. This historic shift is already being felt in our nation's schools as close to half of all children under age 5 are classified as racial or ethnic minorities. Despite these changing demographics, a recent study by American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, found that 82% of teachers receiving education degrees in the last two years were white.

Similarly, a report by the Center for American Progress, using data from the 2008 Schools and Staffing Survey, found that more than 20 states have gaps of 25 percentage points or more between the diversity of their teachers and students. In their second report CAP notes that in more than 40% of the nation's public schools, there are no minority teachers at all.

One source of this inequality is the low rate of matriculation in minority groups. Minority students also continue to fall well behind their Caucasian peers, with about one-third of African-American students and 29%of Hispanic students dropping out before graduation. In addition, the high cost of college also drives many minority students away from pursuing higher education. With the already low rate of minorities attending college, an even fewer percentage are pursuing a career in education.

In an August 2011 Huffington Post report, Enrique Murillo, a professor of education at California State University, San Bernardino, said the disparity "has created a cultural and linguistic gulf" that especially hurts students who take English as a second language.

"There's so few of us in general in the educational pipeline, so the pool is really small," Murillo told the Huffington Post. "It stems from the overall crisis in Latino education. The main crux here is that there's a mismatch between school and home, and Latino educators are bridge builders that help close that mismatch."

Sharon P Robinson, of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education said, "We're finding that college-bound minority students have so many career options," She continued, "We have to develop some specific recruitment strategies to attract our share of those students into those teacher education programs."

Federal officials have also weighed in on the minority gap in teaching. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has made encouraging a diverse educator workforce a priority of the Obama administration. Secretary Duncan spent time touring historically black colleges in an effort to recruit black males, who currently make up just 2% of the teaching population.

The Center for American Progress report held several recommendations for closing the teacher-student diversity gap, including increasing federal oversight of teacher preparations programs, creating statewide initiatives to fund teacher preparation programs aimed at low-income and minority teachers, and strengthening federal financial aid programs for low-income students entering the teaching field.

What do you think about minority teacher inequality? Do you think the gap adversely affects students?

Comment below.

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