Center for American Progress report: Teaching force lacks diversity and student achievement threatened

5 May

Moi believes that good and gifted teachers come in all colors, shapes, sizes, and both genders. Teachers are often role models and mentors which is why a diverse teaching profession is desirable. Huffington Post has the interesting article, Few Minority Teachers In Classrooms, Gap Attributed To Bias And Low Graduation Rates which discusses why there are fewer teachers of color in the profession.

Minority students will likely outnumber white students in the next decade or two, but the failure of the national teacher demographic to keep up with that trend is hurting minority students who tend to benefit from teachers with similar backgrounds.
Minority students make up more than 40 percent of the national public school population, while only 17 percent of the country’s teachers are minorities, according to a report released this week by the Center for American Progress.
“This is a problem for students, schools, and the public at large. Teachers of color serve as role models for students, giving them a clear and concrete sense of what diversity in education–and in our society–looks like,” the report’s authors write. “A recent review of empirical studies also shows that students of color do better on a variety of academic outcomes if they’re taught by teachers of color.”
Using data from the 2008 Schools and Staffing Survey, the most recent data available, researchers found that more than 20 states have gaps of 25 percentage points or more between the diversity of their teachers and students.
California yielded the largest discrepancy of 43 percentage points, with 72 percent minority students compared with 29 percent minority teachers. Nevada and Illinois had the second and third largest gaps, of 41 and 35 percentage points, respectively.
In a second report, the CAP notes that in more than 40 percent of the nation’s public schools, there are no minority teachers at all. The dearth of diversity in the teaching force could show that fewer minorities are interested in teaching or that there are fewer minorities qualified to teach.

The lack of diversity in the teaching profession has been a subject of comment for years.

In 2004, the Council for Exceptional Children wrote in the article,New Report Says More Diverse Teachers Reduces the Achievement Gap for Students of Color:

Representation of Diverse Teachers in the Workforce
The number of diverse teachers does not represent the number of diverse students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2003):
• In 2001-2002, 60 percent of public school students were White, 17 percent Black, 17 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native.
• According to 2001 data, 90 percent of public school teachers were White, 6 percent Black, and fewer than 5 percent of other races.
• Approximately 40 percent of schools had no teachers of color on staff.
Additional trends reflecting the dispersion of diverse teachers include:
• The percentage of diverse teachers does not approximate the percentage of diverse students in any state with a large population of diverse residents except Hawaii. The District of Columbia is also an exception.
• The larger the percentage of diverse students, the greater the disparity with the percentage of diverse teachers.
• Proportional representation of diverse teachers is closest in large urban school districts.
• Diverse teachers tend to teach in schools that have large numbers of students from their own ethnic groups.
• Diverse teachers are about equally represented in elementary and secondary schools. In addition, statistical projections show that while the percentage of diverse students in public schools is expected to increase, the percentage of diverse teachers is not expected to rise unless the nation and states take action.
The Impact of Diverse Teachers on Student Achievement
Increasing the percentage of diverse teachers not only impacts the social development of diverse students, it also is directly connected to closing the achievement gap of these students. Research shows that a number of significant school achievement markers are positively affected when diverse students are taught by diverse teachers, including attendance, disciplinary referrals, dropout rates, overall satisfaction with school, self-concept, cultural competence, and the students’ sense of the relevance of school. In addition, studies show that
o Diverse students tend to have higher academic, personal, and social performance when taught by teachers from their own ethnic group.
o Diverse teachers have demonstrated that when diverse students are taught with culturally responsive techniques and with content-specific approaches usually reserved for students with gifts and talents, their academic performance improves significantly.
o Diverse teachers have higher performance expectations for students from their own ethnic group.
Other advantages of increasing the number of diverse teachers are: more diverse teachers would increase the number of role models for diverse students; provide opportunities for all students to learn about ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity; enrich diverse students learning; and serve as cultural brokers for students, other educators, and parents.

A diverse teaching corps is needed not only to mirror the society, but because the continuing family meltdown has broadened the duties of schools.

Niraj Chokshi reported in the Washington Post article, Map: The student-teacher diversity gap is huge—and widening:
Teachers and students are increasingly looking less like each other.

The divide between the share of teachers of color and the share of students of color grew by 3 percentage points over as many years, according to a new report from the liberal Center for American Progress.
Students of color make up almost half of the public school population, but teachers of color make up just 18 percent of that population nationwide. And the disparity is even larger in 36 states. It’s largest in California where 73 percent of students are nonwhite while just 29 percent of teachers are nonwhite….

Here is the press release from the Center for American Progress:

RELEASE: U.S. Teacher Workforce Lacks Diversity, Puts Student Achievement at Risk
Contact: Katie Peters
Phone: 202.741.6285
Washington, D.C. — While America’s public schools are becoming increasingly more diverse, a new report released by the Center for American Progress finds that nearly every state is experiencing a large and growing teacher diversity gap, or a significant difference between the number of students of color and teachers of color.
The report released today revisits a similar Center for American Progress study from 2011. When the original report was released, students of color made up more than 40 percent of the school age-population, while teachers of color were only 17 percent of the teaching force. The report released today shows that since 2011, the gap between teachers and students of color has continued to grow. Over the past three years, the demographic divide between teachers and students of color has increased by 3 percentage points, and today, students of color make up almost half of the public school population.
“The student population of America’s schools may look like a melting pot, but our teacher workforce looks like it wandered out of the 1950s. It’s overwhelmingly white,” said
Ulrich Boser, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and author of the report ”We know from research that students of color do better academically if they are taught by teachers of color. We also know that all students need role models in their schools that represent our diverse society. Parents, teachers, and policymakers should be alarmed by the findings and demand that states and districts take action to address this growing problem.
The report, “Teacher Diversity Revisited,” includes state-by-state data documenting the teacher diversity gap across the nation. An analysis of the data reveals the following key findings:
 Almost every state has a significant diversity gap. In California, 73 percent of students are kids of color, but only about 29 percent are teachers of color. Maryland has the same problem, although the numbers are a bit better: In the Old Line State, more than 55 percent of students are kids of color, while just around 17 percent are teachers of color.
 The Hispanic teacher population has larger demographic gaps relative to students. In Nevada, for instance, just 9 percent of teachers were Hispanic. In contrast, the state’s student body was 39 percent Hispanic.
 Diversity gaps are large within districts. For the first time, we examined district-level data in California, Florida, and Massachusetts. These three states account for 20 percent of all students in the United States, and it turns out that the gaps within districts are often larger than those within states.
A companion report also released today by CAP and Progress 2050 describes how the shortcomings of today’s education system and the underachievement of many of today’s students of color shrink the future supply of the teachers of color. The report, “America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color,” finds that fundamental constraints limit the potential supply of highly effective teachers of color. Students of color have significantly lower college enrollment rates than do white students. In addition, a relatively small number of students of color enroll in teacher education programs each year. Finally, teacher trainees who are members of communities of color often score lower on licensure exams that serve as passports to teaching careers.
Furthermore, the report reveals that teachers of color leave the profession at a much higher rate than their non-Hispanic white peers. Those who leave mention a perceived lack of respect for teaching as a profession, lagging salary levels, and difficult working conditions.
Despite the barriers in the educator pipeline, there is great opportunity ahead to make improvements. The report includes a set of policy recommendations for the federal government and for states and local school districts. Enlarging the pool of talented, well-educated teachers of color who are effective in improving student achievement in our schools will require aggressive and targeted recruitment and appropriate support. It will demand a steadfast determination to remove the barriers in the educator pipeline that limit and discourage strong candidates for the teaching profession. At the same time, policies must be in place to offer clear and meaningful monetary incentives, support, and professional development to ensure that the best and brightest students of color enter into teaching and succeed once in the profession.
Read the reports:
Teacher Diversity Revisited: A New State-by-State Analysis, by Ulrich Boser
America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color, by Farah Z. Ahmad and Ulrich Boser

Which brings us back to diversity in the teacher corps. The Center for American Progress report, Teacher Diversity Matters A State-by-State Analysis of Teachers of Color, which was highlighted in the Huffington Post article makes the following recommendations:

There have been some successful initiatives to increase the diversity of the teaching workforce over the years. The successful characteristics of these programs are detailed in an accompanying study released with this paper by Saba Bireda and Robin Chait titled “Increasing Teacher Diversity: Strategies to Improve the Teacher Workforce.”10
Briefly, though, those recommendations include:
• Increasing federal oversight of and increased accountability for teacher preparation programs
• Creating statewide initiatives to fund teacher preparation programs aimed at low-income and minority teachers
• Strengthening federal financial aid programs for low-income students entering the teaching field
• Reducing the cost of becoming a teacher by creating more avenues to enter the field and increasing the number of qualified credentialing organizations
• Strengthening state-sponsored and nonprofit teacher recruitment and training organizations by increasing standards for admission, using best practices to recruit high-achieving minority students, and forming strong relationships with districts to ensure recruitment needs are met

The mantra is the system is broke and we, as a society, cannot afford the cost of implementing these recommendations. The reality is, we as a society, cannot afford the long-term cost of not implementing these recommendations.

Is there a ‘model minority’ ??

Urban Teacher Residencies: A Space for Hybrid Roles for Teachers

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