According to a newly released report by the Pew Research Center, America’s public school teachers are far less racially diverse than their students. The amount of Black, Hispanic, and Asian American teachers have increased over the last 30 years, but they have not kept pace with the rapid growth in the racial and ethnic diversity of their students.
Almost eight out of ten public school teachers identified as non-Hispanic White (79%) during the 2017-18 school year. That same year, fewer than two out of ten teachers were either Hispanic (9%), Black (7%), or Asian American (2%). And less than 2% of teachers identified as either American Indian or Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, or of two or more races.
By comparison, about 47% of all public elementary and secondary school students in the U.S. were White in 2018. At the same time, roughly a quarter of public school students were Hispanic (27%), 15% were Black, and 5% were Asian American. Over the 30-year timeframe of the study, the number students of color increased while white students dropped by 24%.
An HBCU in North Carolina is looking to tackle the issue that has faced our nation for decades. North Carolina Central University (NCCU) started The Marathon Teaching Institute. The program is seeks to recruit, train, and prepare students for NCCU’s Teacher Education Program.
In North Carolina, Black students make up about 37% of the student population. Only 2% of teachers, however, are Black men. The Marathon Teaching Institute hopes to increase the number of Black male school teachers and administrators in the state. The institute will recruit, retain, and mentor African American males to become educators.
Students of color perform better with teachers that look like them
Randal Seriguchi Jr. is the executive director of Urban Ed Academy, a non-profit organization building equity in education by increasing Black male teacher representation in San Francisco.
“I didn’t have a Black male teacher myself until college,” Seriguchi said. “The absence of that really fueled my own personal passion for wanting to make this mission work. Seriguchi said his work currently focuses San Francisco, but he hopes to expand to “any urban metro that needs it.”
Bradley Hinton is a 4th grade math and science teacher in Mansfield, Texas. He has said his experience as a Black male educator has been one of the best experiences of his life.
“One of the reasons is because I feel I am a representation that can possibly leave a lifelong imprint on my students of what a Black man can be. Too often, our image is construed or manipulated. We are force-fed to believe we can only succeed in sports or entertainment. Having my students see someone like me at a young age can plant the seed of seeing Black men in a different light and not succumbing to the stereotypes.”