New report shows gap between minority teachers, students

Posted at 7:27 AM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 08:27:20-04

As a new school year begins, the number of minorities teaching in classrooms across America remains disproportionate with the number of minority students they’re instructing.

According to a recent report by the Brown Center on Education Policy, minorities currently make up about 18 percent of public school teachers across the country.

However, they also account for roughly half of the students enrolled in America’s public schools.

In Milwaukee, Chief Human Resources Officer Dan Chanen said Milwaukee Public School teachers are roughly 70 percent white and 24 percent black or Chanen said Milwaukee Public School teachers are roughly 70 percent white and 24 percent black or hispanic.

He said there’s still work to do when it comes to diversifying MPS’s staff of teachers, but that the district has found hiring internally to be an effective way to close the gap.

Chanen said MPS offers district workers, like paraprofessionals, financial reimbursement to return to school and pursue teaching degrees.

“About half of the teachers of color we recruit are actually current employees, or former employees who come back to us after completing a teaching program,” Chanen said.

He said MPS also encourages its high school students to pursue education as a college major.

Chanen agreed with the Brown Center’s analysis that diversifying the number of minority students majoring in education is one way to better diversify America’s workforce of teachers.

“We really need to do a better job of encouraging our students to seek out entry into teacher education programs,” Chanen said.

Deion Cunningham, a senior at Carmen Northwest High School, said a diverse group of teachers makes students feel more comfortable.

“It just sets an example for all of us to show we can really be diverse as a community,” Cunningham said. “I think it’s pretty good to have a mixture of black and white teachers, and other races, because we learn something different from each and every one of them."