America's demographics are rapidly changing, but the racial and ethnic breakdown of teachers is not keeping pace.
Overall, from July 2016 through July 2017:
- Hispanics increased 2.1 percent.
- the black population increased 1.2 percent.
- Asian representation went up 3.1 percent.
- the white population dropped by .02 percent.
Now, how that connects to education: From 1987 to 2012, The Department of Education shows that the number of minority teachers more than doubled.
But minority teachers still represent only about 17 percent of elementary and secondary school teachers, while 44 percent of the students are minorities.
Why does all this matter? Research from the Learning Policy Institute shows: "Teachers of color boost the performance of students of color." In other words, it closes the achievement gap.
"Many teachers of color report feeling called to teach in low-income communities where positions are often difficult to fill."
Recruiting and retaining minority teachers can be a challenge. The Learning Policy Institute study explained: Some minority teachers try to enter the profession while still in training, but they find a lack of support. Poor working conditions and low salaries make it hard for new teachers to stay in the profession.
It comes down to this, according to the National Education Association: Minority teachers leave the profession at higher rates than white teachers do.
Meanwhile, the demographics of the students are changing.