The lack of diversity among teachers has been a long-running discussion in the education industry and a new study by the Department of Education takes a look at the topic from another eye-opening angle.
The many ways in which African-American students benefit from seeing adults who look like them in influential leadership roles like that of an educator are obvious, but the Department of Education finds that it’s also important for White students to see teachers of color in the classroom.
For a Black child, seeing an equal number of teachers of color as they do White teachers can have a lasting, positive effect. Among the many advantages of having teachers of color for African-American students is that learning from someone who looks like them can encourage them to engage more during class and aspire to want to make a positive impact on the world as adults.
For White students, the DOE report says seeing and interacting with more teachers of color is vital to preparing them for the multicultural world in which they will live as adults. Being exposed to African-American educators making a difference in classrooms and their communities can also help prevent them from forming stereotypical opinions about the competency of teachers of color or African-Americans as leaders in general.
At present, 82 percent of teachers in U.S. public school are White, while 49 percent of students are non-White, according to the study.
There are many steps that need to be taken to begin bringing more balance to these statistics, but increasing teaching opportunities for people of color and an increased interest in becoming educators by minorities are two great places to start.
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