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The Importance of a Diverse Teaching Force

Education Next – David Figlio

In a recent study, Lindsay, Blom, and Tilsley present an impressive analysis of the disparities between the racial composition of American children and the racial composition of the American teaching force. [1] Using data from the American Community Survey, they show that in 2015 just over half of American children aged 5 to 17 were white, but nearly 80 percent of young teachers (whom they define as individuals aged 25 to 34, with a bachelor’s degree, and teaching at the prekindergarten through high school level) were white. Meanwhile, while black students comprise around 13 percent of all school-aged children, black teachers represent only around 8 percent of all young teachers, and while Hispanic students comprise around 24 percent of all school-aged children, Hispanic teachers represent only around 9 percent of all young teachers. Asian teachers are slightly underrepresented relative to the percentage of Asian students in the population.”(more)

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