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The Push to Get More Teachers of Color in Special Education Classrooms

Teacher of color working with two students

The excerpt below is taken from an article originally published in Ed Week and is reprinted with permission.

It’s a constant struggle for school districts across the country to find qualified special education teachers. An extra challenge: finding special educators of color to help meet the needs of a student population that can be disproportionately nonwhite.

Just over 82 percent of special education teachers in public schools are white, according to 2011-12 federal data, the most recent available. Meanwhile, only about half of students receiving special education services are white, according to 2017-18 data.

Yet teacher diversity matters: Decades of research has shown that students often perform better academically when they are taught by teachers of the same race.

“The special education field is really prime to recruit faculty of color,” said Jacqueline Rodriguez,

65 Years After ‘Brown v. Board,’ Where Are All the Black Educators?

Old photo of educator teaching a class of children after desegragation

The excerpt below is taken from an article originally published in Ed Week and is reprinted with permission. The article explores the historic decision that ended segregation in U.S. public schools and the unintended consequences that led to thousands of Black teachers and principals losing their jobs. Several AACTE members are quoted in the article, including the new AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie Fenwick.

“We decimated the black principal and teacher pipeline, and we’ve never rectified that,” said Leslie Fenwick, the dean emeritus and a professor at the Howard University School of Education. “It is the unfinished promise of Brown that we have not integrated our faculty and school leadership.”

Prior to Brown, in the 17 states that had segregated school systems, 35 to 50 percent of the teaching force was black, said Fenwick, who has researched the displacement of black educators for her upcoming book, Jim Crow’s Pink Slip: Public Policy and the Near Decimation of Black Educational Leadership After Brown.

Now, no state has anywhere close to those percentages of black teachers or principals, she said. According to the most recent federal data, about 7 percent of public school teachers, and 11 percent of public school principals, are black.

“Not having these models of intellectual authority and leadership in schools is detrimental to children,” Fenwick said. “All children deserve to have diverse models of intellectual authority in the classroom via their teacher, or diverse models of leadership in schools.”

Read the full article.

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