Equity & Diversity Letter to the Editor

Teachers of Color Contribute to Better Student Outcomes

May 30, 2017 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

I agree with certain points about school integration expressed by Rafiq R. Kalam Id-Din II in his recent Commentary (“Black Teachers Matter. School Integration Doesn’t,” May 10, 2017).

I wholeheartedly endorse the importance of black students’ having more black teachers. A school staff that reflects the students it serves clearly illustrates to our children what can be possible for them. I also strongly believe that racial, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity benefits all students. That some charters with highly segregated student bodies perform well is not evidence that integration is not important. On the contrary, research has shown that academic gains are associated with racial and economic integration.

I would further argue that schools with integrated student bodies have broader positive impacts beyond growth in literacy and numeracy. A diverse school population also encourages students to think in terms of “we,” instead of “us” and “them.” It contributes to shaping tolerant adults and citizens. Given the current state of politics, exposing children to differences, talking about those differences, and creating a safe space in which to discuss them is vital.

The Diverse Charter Schools Coalition, which I lead, is a growing national organization of over 100 diverse-by-design charter schools that represent successful school-integration models. Members of the coalition believe that it is possible to address inequity, increase achievement, and broaden educational opportunities without laying integration aside.

I commend Kalam Id-Din II for his charter school’s achievement gains, but we believe that when more teachers of color teach in integrated schools, they contribute to better student outcomes.

Sonia Park

Executive Director

Diverse Charter Schools Coalition

A version of this article appeared in the May 30, 2017 edition of Education Week as Teachers of Color Contribute to Better Student Outcomes


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Opinion No, Love Won’t Fix Institutional Racism in Education
Racially just books are under attack in schools. Defending an anti-racist curriculum demands a deeper understanding of how power operates.
Altheria Caldera
4 min read
Photo of separated black and white chess pieces
Radachynskyi/iStock/Getty Images Plus<br/>
Equity & Diversity Spotlight Spotlight on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
This Spotlight will empower you to assess where the work still needs to be done to ensure your students and educators are represented and included.
Equity & Diversity Transgender Students and School Sports: Six Things to Know About a Raging Debate
States have considered a surge of legislation that would restrict transgender students from teams that align with their gender identity.
9 min read
Laur Kaufman, 13, of Harlingen, waves a flag at a rally against House Bill 25, a bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in girls school sports, outside the Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021.
Laur Kaufman, 13, of Harlingen, Texas, waves a flag at a rally at the state capitol in Austin against a bill that would restrict transgender students' access to single-sex sports teams.
Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP
Equity & Diversity Census Prompts Push for More Indigenous School Lessons
American Indians and Alaska Natives say census numbers prove that Indigenous history should get more attention in public school classrooms.
Tim Henderson, Stateline.org
7 min read
Tatanka Gibson of the Haliwa-Saponi/Nansemond Tribal Nations leads attendees in song and dance during a gathering marking Indigenous Peoples Day at Penn Treaty Park in Philadelphia, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021.
Tatanka Gibson of the Haliwa-Saponi/Nansemond Tribal Nations leads attendees in song and dance during a gathering marking Indigenous Peoples Day at Penn Treaty Park in Philadelphia.
Matt Rourke/AP