U.S. Department of Education reveals “a lack of racial diversity among teachers at public elementary and secondary schools across the nation.”
According to the report, less than one in five U.S. public school teachers — 18 percent — are individuals of color, while approximately one half — 49 percent — of public elementary and secondary school students are individuals of color.
The report also noted that black men make up only 2 percent of the teaching workforce.
It is expected that students of color will make the majority of student population in our elementary and secondary schools by 2024. Therefore, diversity in our classrooms among teachers should be set as a number priority.
Children of color go through school facing numerous stereotypes about them and their kind not being up to any good. Their TV screens are always covered with pictures of what America wants them to believe – ‘criminals’ from their neighborhoods that look just like them in order to send a message that the end game for them is prison.
To these kids the idea of a role model in their schools is very strange because those, who teach them, are fundamentally out of touch with the reality and black students have no chance to face all the privileges an average white kid wakes up to every morning.
Although the benefits of diversity in teaching workforce are well known to all in the field, many have failed to acknowledge the main causes of underrepresentation of people of color among teachers.
For generations systemic racism has subjected students of color to all forms of discrimination – from lower university intakes and scholarship opportunities to fewer graduations from universities and colleges. This has created a void in the system, in which more disadvantaged enthusiastic and hard working children of color break the shackles of not being white in America, but end up in schools where almost all of their teachers have zero understanding of their racial, socioeconomic and cultural background.
When these former students, who have faced discrimination from their white teachers and other school authorities, graduate from colleges and universities, they have absolutely no interest in representing the repressive profession that made their school days a living hell.
Therefore if the Department of Education is really interested in ensuring greater diversity, they have to make provisions for students of color, who would eventually be proud of the educational system and decide to be a part of racially well enlightened teaching workforce.
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