Does a lack of diversity in our school teachers negatively impact our students? Are there enough teachers from minority groups to help balance out the disparity? Are school hiring boards the main source of the problem? Today, Diversity in Ed will take a look at some of the issues from which these questions arise. Continue reading to learn how to diversify the candidates for your school teacher jobs, and then contact Diversity in Ed to find the qualified teachers you need.

Race Disparity

In a study from the American Community Survey in 2015, it was discovered that while just over half of American children between the ages of five to 17 were white, almost 80 percent of their young teachers were white. On the other hand, black students make up about 13 percent of all school-aged children, but black teachers represent just 8 percent of all young teachers. Young teachers, for the purposes of this article, are defined as adults who are between the ages of 25 – 34 and hold a bachelor’s degree.

The gap in the diversity of teaching applicants seems to stem from high school graduation percentages. For example, approximately 94 percent of white young adults graduated from high school, while a much smaller percentage of black young adults, 89 percent, and Hispanic young adults, 76 percent, also attained high school diplomas.

Teachers as Role Models

Why should any of this matter? Are students actually affected one way or the other from having a teacher who is from the same race? There is a growing body of literature that suggests that factors such as improved test scores, better attendance, and less frequent suspensions do seem to have a direct correlation to having at least one same-race teacher.

We believe that teachers are role models for the students with whom they work. If the evidence suggests that there are significant improvements in some of the core elements of a student’s school experience, shouldn’t we make a better effort to diversify our teaching pool? When you think about a teacher who had a profound impact on your life, you can probably identify an area that they targeted. For example, did they challenge you to find a way over, under, or around a particular hurdle? Did they provide the support you needed, without solving an issue, to help you see that you had the ability to do something on your own? If you answered yes to these questions, then you already understand the importance of having a teacher you can relate to. 

Hiring Practices

Schools need to evaluate their hiring process for teaching candidates. When a diverse teaching pool is valued, the interview and all aspects of the hiring process should reflect this mindset. A hiring team should be able to look at a candidate’s previous experience and training to determine if they are qualified to move on to the next round of interviews. In this method, all qualified applicants move forward, regardless of background, and afford the school the opportunity to have a more diverse teaching staff. As we have seen, a more diverse teaching staff means that more students will have same-race teachers to identify with, potentially reducing a number of negative aspects such as suspensions and absences.

Placing qualified individuals in school teacher jobs is critical to shaping the generations that will come after us. Identifying the best teachers, regardless of background, is critical to giving each student their best opportunity for success. When you work with Diversity in Ed, we will help you to locate a diverse pool of qualified candidates for your school. Call us today to see how we can help!