While the majority of U.S. K-12 students are children of color, only 20% of teachers are people of color — and 40% of the nation’s public schools do not have a single teacher of color on record. Despite a now decades old, nationwide effort to diversify the teaching profession, there is obviously still much work to be done. Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) hold great promise towards the goal of bringing more teachers of color to the profession. They also provide teacher candidates opportunities to do their student teaching in schools and communities that are racially diverse. Of importance, these teacher candidates share a common interest in remaining in multicultural and high-needs schools after getting certified.
A related, but significantly less prominent issue, concerns the diversity of teacher educators. Across higher education, 75% of professors are White and teacher educators are over 76% White, demonstrating that many teacher candidates will not have a single professor of color as they make the transition through their teacher preparation programs. This challenge has huge ramifications for what happens in teacher education programs, including how candidates are recruited, how the curriculum is designed, and how urgently a program works to address critical issues of race and equity. Moreover, as Galman, Pica-Smith, and Rosenberger note: “It’s important that teacher educators have examined their own implicit biases before asking preservice teachers to engage with [them].”