article by Nigel Roberts via newsone.com
Some 15,000 guests joined Teach For America at its Washington, D.C. gathering in February to celebrate the organization’s quarter-century anniversary. On this milestone, the group’s army of teachers, alumni, and allies – now numbering 50,000 – commemorated the past, but fixed their eyes on the future.
At the top of TFA’s agenda going forward is recruiting teachers of color to meet the needs of the nation’s exploding Latino student population and African-American pupils who are struggling to close the academic achievement gap.
The ballooning growth of Latinos and the simultaneous decline of the White population have resulted in a significant demographic shift among students. The 2014 – 2015 academic year marked the first time that minority schoolchildren—Latino, African-American, and Asian—outnumbered their White counterparts, Education Week reported.
However, the teaching force has failed to keep pace with this major shift. According to U.S. News, only 17 percent of educators are people of color.
The problem, according to numerous studies, is that minority students perform academically better under the guidance of teachers of their own race or ethnicity.
A study reported by the Washington Post states:
“We find that the performance gap in terms of class dropout and pass rates between white and minority students falls by roughly half when taught by a minority instructor. In models that allow for a full set of ethnic and racial interactions between students and instructors, we find African-American students perform particularly better when taught by African-American instructors.”
Why do minority students tend to perform better with teachers who look like them? The study reported in U.S. News says teachers of color are often better motivated to teach in racially segregated, poor schools. What’s more, they typically have higher academic expectations of their pupils and better understand their culture.