Diversifying the Classroom: Examining the Teacher Pipeline

Constance A. Lindsay et al
Date of Publication: 
October, 2017
Source Organization: 

A look into any urban school classroom reveals how diverse student populations have become. The same, however, cannot be said for the teaching staff. Diversifying the Classroom: Examining the Teacher Pipeline seeks to understand the reasons for America's predominantly white workforce in education. Research shows that students of color perform better with a teacher of the same race or ethnicity; therefore, a diverse teacher workforce is crucial for improving student performance outcomes. Utilizing data from the American Community Survey and Center for Economic and Policy Research, the authors emphasize the diversity gap between teachers and their students. In 2015, while almost half of the students in the United States were not white, less than a quarter of teachers were people of color. The authors argue this lack of teacher diversity is the result of the lack of diverse college graduates. In 2015, only 21 percent of Black adults and 16 percent of Hispanic adults had a Bachelor's degree compared with 40 percent of White adults, and 65 percent of Asian adults. Traditionally, alternative pathways for obtaining teaching credentials were utilized by people of color to enter the teaching profession, but without a college degree, these pathways are not available.  Therefore, a crucial step toward a more diverse teaching force is getting people of color through college. Because teaching job markets, demographics and credentialing requirements are locally determined, the authors suggest that policy change to achieve greater teacher diversity must be tailored to local conditions. (Sakura Tomizawa for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)

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Lindsay, C. A., Blom, E., & Tilsley, A. (2017). Diversifying the Classroom: Examining the Teacher Pipeline (p. 8). Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute. Retrieved from https://www.urban.org/features/diversifying-classroom-examining-teacher-pipeline