According to a September report from the Albert Shanker Institute, roughly 20 percent of states fail “to either collect teacher diversity data or make it publicly available.” This is major news when you consider the negative ramifications of the lack of diversity within education in the near term.
Despite the national demographic trending towards a minority majority, about “80 percent of teachers are white, and the vast majority are women.” According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the majority of students attending school in the 2014-15 school year were minorities. In addition, with the exception of Mississippi, 49 states “saw their white student populations decline between 2003-04 and 2013-14.”
So, what does this mean for diversity? Well according to further research, an increase in minority teachers increases the success rate of minority students. “One study, for example, found that having just one black teacher in third, fourth or fifth grade lowered black students’ dropout rate by nearly a third. Research also indicates black teachers are less likely to suspend or expel black students, and have higher expectations of them than white educators.”
While this doesn’t mean we need less white school teachers, it does give an argument that the nation’s current school system is underrepresenting minority teachers which leads to a negative affect on student learning.
Publicizing the data can also help parents make informed decisions about where to send their kids, he added. Seventeen states offer school-level teacher diversity data via their state education agency websites, while 18 of them (including D.C.) make the data available by request. Three states — Kansas, Mississippi, and South Dakota — charge a fee.