This array of colorful figures demonstrates the need for diversity, including more black male educators, in classrooms.

Representation matters–and classrooms don’t have it

A new survey sounds the alarm about low rates of educator diversity in classrooms, especially when it comes to black male educators

A diverse and inclusive education workforce can play a critical role in ensuring that students receive a robust, quality educational experience. But an alarmingly low rate of black male educators has researchers looking for ways to strengthen diversity and improve recruitment efforts.

While students of color make up more than half of PreK-12 classroom populations in the United States, overcoming the shortage of educators of color has been a decades-long dilemma for U.S. schools, according to research from the University of Phoenix.

The shortage is especially alarming among black male educators, who represent less than 2 percent of the total teaching population. Recruiting black male educators has been a longstanding challenge and remains a critical topic in educational reform, but studies on the factors contributing to the shortage remain scarce.

Related content: How can the U.S. increase teacher diversity?

Researchers from University of Phoenix (UOPX) Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research, in partnership with the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY), examined the current status of black male educators in the nation’s classrooms. This exploration highlighted insights of fellows of the 2018 cohort of NNSTOY Outstanding Black Male Educators. Their reflective quotes and personal narratives were published in a joint white paper, entitled, “Having Our Say: Examining Career Trajectories of Black Male Educators in P-12 Education.”

Laura Ascione

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