ERIC Identifier: ED390875
Publication Date: 1996-02-00
Author: Lewis, Mark S.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Teaching and Teacher Education Washington DC.
Supply and Demand of Teachers of Color. ERIC Digest.
Total demand for new hiring of classroom teachers is projected to fluctuate
through 1995, ranging from 187,000 to 209,000 needed annually. After 1995,
demand is expected to increase to 227,000 by the year 2000 (Gerald & Husser,
At the same time, a number of national organizations have consistently
stressed the importance of Black, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American
role models for both minority and majority students (American Association of
Colleges for Teacher Education [AACTE], 1987; American Council on Education,
1988). While role models enhance a child's impression of what he or she is or
can be, there is an even more important goal in securing a racially and
ethnically balanced teaching population. Teachers of color bring with them an
inherent understanding of the backgrounds, attitudes, and experiences of
students from certain groups and therefore can help inform majority teachers on
effective ways and means to communicate with students of color (Dilworth, 1990).
It has also been pointed out that there is a tremendous value in diversity as it
exists in a democracy: "diversity is not just an issue of color but a concept
that encourages diversity of thought--the exchange of different ideas and ways
to approach problems" (Michael-Bandele, 1993).
As the data show, there are significant disparities between the numbers of
teachers of color and those of students of color. This digest will focus on the
data and examine how well schools, colleges, and departments of education (SCDE)
are doing in supplying teachers of color for the nation's classrooms.
IS THERE AN INCREASING DEMAND FOR TEACHERS OF COLOR?
1990-91, 9.2% of public elementary and secondary school teachers were
Black/African American, 3.1% were Hispanic, and 1% were Asian/Pacific Islanders
(Snyder & Hoffman, 1994). The need for more teachers of color becomes
evident when one looks at how student enrollment patterns in public elementary
and secondary schools have altered the makeup of the classroom. From 1976 to
1990, the percentage of White students enrolled in such schools decreased almost
17% . In the same period, the enrollment of Black/African Americans decreased
about 2% to a total of 16%, the enrollment of Hispanics increased by 68% to a
total of 12%, and the percentage of Asian/Pacific Islanders enrolled increased
approximately 158% to a total of 3% (Smith et al., 1994). Table 1 at the end of
this Digest illustrates the discrepancies between the race/ethnicity of the
teaching force, and that of the children being taught.
IS THERE A DECREASING SUPPLY OF TEACHERS OF COLOR?
a Metropolitan Life study predicted that teachers of color were leaving the
teaching profession in disproportionately greater numbers than their White
counterparts: "Overall, 40% of the minority teachers say they are likely to
leave teaching over the next five years compared to 25% of non- minority
teachers....Less experienced minority teachers are the most likely to say that
they will leave. Fully 55% of minority teachers with less than five years of
teaching experience say that they are likely to leave" (Harris & Associates,
1988). Actually, teachers of color in private schools left at a rate of 21.4% in
1987-88, while teachers of color in public schools left at a rate of only 4.4%.
That attrition rate increased only slightly in 1990-91 (Bobbitt, Leich,
Whitener, & Lynch, 1994).
The data indicate that the number of individuals receiving education degrees
dropped throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Those decreases appear to have varied
more dramatically for prospective teachers of color (see table 2).
There are a number of explanations for these decreases including the effects
of competency testing and increased opportunities in other professional fields
for African Americans and other people of color (Darling-Hammond, Pittman,
Ottinger, 1987; Dilworth, 1990, 1984). Since 1987, enrollments have increased
with White enrollments increasing 19.7%, African American 18.6%, Hispanic 28.7%,
and American Indian/Alaskan Native 30.9%. The only ethnic group to see a
decrease has been Asian/Pacific Americans who have decreased in enrollment by
10.5% (Snyder & Hoffman, 1994).
According to data collected by AACTE, enrollments for teacher education
students of color have increased over the last 5 years, but not enough to keep
pace with the dramatic changes in K-12 classrooms. In schools, colleges, and
departments of education (SCDE), from 1989 to 1991, Hispanic enrollments
increased by 44.1%, Native American/Alaskan Natives by 29%, Asian/Pacific
Islanders by 22%, and Black/African American enrollments increased by 11.9%
(AACTE, 1994). While teacher education enrollments have increased by 10% since
1989, in 1991, approximately 85% of teacher education students are White, 7% are
Black, 4% are Hispanic, 1% are International/non-Resident, 0.5% are Native
American/American Indian, and less than 1% are Pacific Islander and Alaskan
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Although more teachers of color are
completing education degrees, the numbers are not keeping pace with the
demographic changes in K-12 enrollments. "Recruiting Minority Teachers: A
Practical Guide," outlines the "four C's of recruitment" as principles for SCDE
recruitment efforts (AACTE, 1989):
* concern for the various aspects of the issue and a readiness to tackle
* commitment by the highest leadership to the recruitment program or project;
* collaboration among all those concerned about the problem, sharing
information, resources, and responsibilities; and
* creativity in developing a program, being ready to combine strategies,
piece elements of different programs, or even try something different.
There are annual conferences around the country that bring together those
concerned with recruitment and retention to identify successful models and
strategies (see Middleton et al., 1993). One such conference formerly hosted by
the University of Kentucky, has now moved to the State University of New York at
Oswego. Interested persons may contact National Conference on the Recruitment
and Retention of Minorities in Education, SUNY Oswego, 200 Poucher Hall, Oswego,
NY, 13126, (315) 341-2102.
Foundations are funding programs dedicated to the recruitment, retention, and
graduation of students of color in teacher education. For example, the Ford
Foundation has for the last 5 years, supported eight state consortia across the
country, all working to increase the presence of students of color in teacher
education programs. The DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund's Pathways to
Teaching Careers is designed to increase the numbers of teachers, especially
minorities, working in public schools. Similar to the Ford Consortia program,
the program recruits from a variety of pools, including paraprofessionals, and
adults from non-traditional backgrounds. The two programs differ significantly:
the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest program provides scholarship aid for tuition,
fees, books, child care, and in some cases transportation; the Ford program is
programmatic in nature, providing a variety of support services, and provides no
financial aid to the students. Although these efforts are spread throughout the
country, there is still little institutionalization of successful models within
SCDEs or at the state level. Most efforts are concentrated through the efforts
of one or more individuals who are personally committed to what they are doing.
References identified with an EJ or ED number
have been abstracted and are in the ERIC database. Journal articles (EJ) should
be available at most research libraries; most documents (ED) are available in
microfiche collections at more than 900 locations. Documents can also be ordered
through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (800) 443-ERIC.
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. (1987). Minority
teacher recruitment and retention: A public policy issue. Washington, DC:
Author. ED 298 123
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. (1989). Recruiting
minority teachers. A practical guide. Washington, DC: Author. ED 315 416
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. (1994). Teacher
education pipeline III: Schools, colleges, and departments of education
enrollments by race, ethnicity, and gender. Washington, DC: Author. ED 369 780
American Council on Education. (1988). One-third of a nation. A report of the
commission on minority participation in education and American life. Washington,
DC: Author/Education Commission of the States. ED 297 057.
Bobbitt, S. A., Leich, M. C., Whitener, S. D., & Lynch, H. F. (1994,
May). Characteristics of stayers, movers, and leavers: Results from the teacher
followup survey: 1991-92. Washington, DC: National Center for Education
Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. ED 374 134
Darling-Hammond, L., Johnson Pittman, K., & Ottinger, C. (1987). Career
choices for minorities: Who will teach? Unpublished manuscript. Washington, DC:
National Education Association, and Council of Chief State School Officers.
Dilworth, M. E. (1984). Teachers totter: A report on teacher certification
issues. Washington, DC: Howard University/ISEP. ED 266 086
Dilworth, M. E. (1990). Reading between the lines: Teachers and their
racial/ethnic cultures. (Teacher Education Monograph No. 11). Washington, DC:
ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education and American Association of Colleges for
Teacher Education. ED 322 148
Gerald, D. E., & Hussar, W. J. (1990). Projections of education
statistics to 2001: An update. Washington, DC: National Center for Education
Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. ED 327 581
Harris (Louis) & Associates. (1988). The Metropolitan Life survey. The
American teacher 1988: Strengthening the relationship between teachers and
students. New York: Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. ED 305 357
Michael-Bandele, M. (1993). Who's missing from the classroom: The need for
minority teachers. (Trends and Issues Paper no. 9). Washington, DC: ERIC
Clearinghouse on Teacher Education and American Association of Colleges for
Teacher Education. ED 352 361
Middleton, E., Bickel, F., Mason, E., Jones, D., Stilwell, W., &
Frederick, A. (Eds.). (1993). The recruitment and retention of minorities in
teacher education: Performance assessment. (Proceedings of the 7th national
conference, January 17-19, 1993.) Lexington, KY: Center for Professional
Development, University of Kentucky. ED 373 024
National Data Resource Center, (1993). 1990-91 schools and staffing survey,
"teacher questionnaire." Washington, DC: National Center for Education
Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.
Smith, T. M., Rogers, G. T., Alsalam, N., Perie, M., Mahoney, R. P., &
Martin, V. (1994). The condition of education, 1994. Washington, DC: National
Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. ED 371 491
Snyder, T. D., & Hoffman, C. M. (1994). Digest of education statistics,
1994. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department
of Education. ED 377 253
Thomas, J. (1995). An action agenda: Policy issues in minority teacher
recruitment and retention. Tallahassee, FL: Center for the Study of Teaching and
Learning, Florida State University.