By Beth Williams
teacher certification degrees.com
Despite the changing face of America’s classrooms – minority students are set to outnumber non-minority students within the next two decades – the country’s schools still do not have a comparable number of minority teachers, a report by the American Center for Progress has found.
Seven percent of America’s teachers are Hispanic while 21 percent of students are Hispanic, the report reveals. In addition, a 25 percent diversity exists between teachers and students in 20 states with California having the highest disproportionate ratio of minority teachers (29 percent) and students (72 percent).
An estimated 40 percent of all of the nation’s schools do not have any minority teachers on staff. In those schools with minority teachers, the turnover rate is high. More than 47,000 minorities became teachers during the 2003-2004 school year but schools lost 56,000 minority teachers the following school year.
Many minority teachers work in poorer schools, according to researchers, which contributes to the high turnover rate, and many have less than adequate working conditions and are unsatisfied with their pay.
Still, America’s classrooms have become much more diverse in the last two decades, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, as many schools have made an effort to recruit more minority educators. An estimated 325,000 minorities were employed as teachers at the end of the 1980s compared to 642,000 minority teachers today.
The relative success of recruiting more minority teachers, researchers Richard Ingersoll and Henry May assert, has been due, in part, to the federal money available to minority students who want to become teachers and to a calculated move by school districts to recruit more minority teachers.
Ingersoll and May concluded if school systems would focus on improving impoverished, inner-city schools, providing a better working and learning environment, minority teachers would be more likely to remain with the schools.