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Nanette Missaghi

University of Saint Thomas (MN)

Shanker Report Highlights Teacher Diversity Crisis Being Addressed by AACTE Networked Improvement Community

New data illuminate the growing problem of the lack of diversity in the teacher workforce and reframe teacher diversity as an “educational civil right” for students. The Albert Shanker Institute’s recent report on The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education names teacher diversity as a crisis in the educator workforce—the very topic being addressed by the 10 institutions participating in a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) sponsored by AACTE. Specifically, AACTE’s effort seeks to identify strategies to boost the number of Latino and Black men in the education profession.

The authors of the Shanker report studied research and data on teacher diversity from 1987 to 2012 in nine cities in the United States. The report shows that for the period of 1987-2012, the percentage of the students of color changed from 23% to 37% (a 14 percentage point increase). For the same period, the percentage of teachers of color rose from 12% to 17%—a mere 5 percentage point increase. This shows that the rate of increase of students of color is far (almost three times) greater than the increase in the percentage of teachers of color. Therefore, this is a crisis not only in the decline of numbers of young people seeking education careers, but the absence of young people of color choosing the profession at the same rates as the number of students of color enrolled in the nation’s schools.

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