Last week, local students in Sussex County, Delaware took a stand to rally for more African American teachers and discuss issues they have faced at school, as reported in the News Journal.
The forum hosted by the local League of Women Voters to mark Black History Month included three adult speakers -- but three high school students generated the biggest uproar.
Many students only have one or two African American teachers throughout their entire K-12 experience and feel that they could better identify with teachers who look more like them.
One example given in the News Journal is Sussex Tech, in which is 90.3 percent of teachers are white, 7.5 percent of teachers are black, and one teacher is Hispanic. In the school, 66.5 percent of students are white, 17.9 percent are black and 12.4 percent are Hispanic. The percentages clearly do not add up and it is clear that students are not seeing an accurate representation of their student population in their teachers.
I agree with the students in Sussex County, Delaware: we need more African American teachers in our schools. Teachers in our country are simply not as diverse as its students. Students will perform better when they can identify with and relate to their teachers -- and I believe we could narrow and even close achievement gaps by recruiting more black educators.
In addition, I think increasing the number of teachers of color will help students who are not of color too. Putting black teachers in front of children who are not black could prevent stereotyping and promote acceptance of diversity and equity.
The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.