Magazine Feature

Toolkit for “You Belong Here”

What do the data tell us?

According to the Center for American Progress, “At some point over the next 10 to 12 years, the nation’s public school student body will have no one clear racial or ethnic majority. In other words, students of color—students who are not classified as non-Hispanic whites, for purposes of this analysis—will constitute more than half of our primary and secondary students. But the makeup of the nation’s teacher workforce has not kept up with these changing demographics. At the national level, students of color make up more than 40 percent of the public school population. In contrast, teachers of color—teachers who are not non-Hispanic white—are only 17 percent of the teaching force.”

While almost every state has a diversity gap, some states have larger gaps than others. The largest gap is in California, where there is a 43-percentage-point difference between teachers of color and students of color. The smallest gap using the same measurement is shared by Vermont, Maine and West Virginia with four percentage points. How does your state compare? Why does it matter? And what can you do with the information?

What is happening in my school or district?

  1. What does the teacher-student diversity gap look like in your school or the schools in your community?
  2. If there is a gap, how does it impact students? Teachers?
  3. What strategies, if any, are in place to recruit and retain teachers of color in your school or school district?
  4. Do you offer in-service programs or professional development that promote cultural competency?
  5. Does your school value the experiences and perspectives teachers of color bring to their work?
  6. What would happen if a teacher at your school or district attempted to bring in texts or other content from outside the approved curriculum that they felt would resonate with students of color?


What are some resources for recruiting, training and supporting teachers of color?