Diversity at Issue as States Weigh Teacher Entry

Diversity at Issue as States Weigh Teacher Entry

From the article: 

On the whole, “this is a very difficult issue with significant trade-offs,” said Douglas N. Harris, an associate professor of economics at Tulane University, in New Orleans, who has studied the links between teachers’ preservice characteristics and their classroom performance. “Ratcheting up the bar will reduce the supply of minority teachers because of the general achievement gap that still leaves minorities with lower academic achievement—which is the problem we are trying to solve.”

Just 17 percent of teachers are nonwhite, compared to about 40 percent of K-12 students, according to federal data.

“In the 1980s and 1990s, teacher diversity was being talked about from a cultural, ‘social justice’ perspective, but not with any real agenda for educative impact,” Mr. Eubanks said. “Now, it has the potential to help close the academic achievement gap, [but] it’s a piece that isn’t really being connected.”

“We need the best teachers in the classroom, irrespective of race,” said M. Christopher Brown, the president of the historically black institution. “I don’t think anyone would accept a lower-quality doctor during their heart transplant, based on an equity issue. The reality is that, as the bar rises, you have to meet it.”

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