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Study: Less Than 1 in 5 Public-School Teachers Are Nonwhite

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New research on the “diversity gap” in U.S. public schools has revealed that a mere 18% of teachers are nonwhite, while roughly half of all students are minorities.

New studies from the National Education Association (NEA) and the Center for American Progress focus on the racial breakdown of staff and pupils at the elementary and high school levels, the Associated Press reports.

Of the approximately 3.3 million teachers working in 2012, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, roughly 82% were white, 8% were Hispanic, 7% were black and 2% were Asian.

Meanwhile, 48% of public-school students are nonwhite, according to the Center for American Progress: 23% Hispanic, 16% black and 5% Asian. The number of minority students has grown steadily. In 1993, they made up 31% of public-school students. In 2003, that figure was 41%. The number is expected to continue to grow.

Education groups want action at the political level to attract more African-American, Hispanic and Asian teachers. “Nothing can help motivate our students more than to see success standing right in front of them,” says Kevin Gilbert of the NEA’s executive committee.


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Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan.feeney@time.com