INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WOWO): Teachers in America don’t necessarily look like their students, and there’s an effort underway to change that.
In the fall of 2010, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan noted the problem and the government launched an initiative, to recruit what he calls the “next generation” of teachers. Nationally, minority students make up about half the student population, but in over 40 percent of public schools there is not a single teacher of color.
Barry Tyler of “Teach for America” helps recruit teachers in low-income communities. He says kids need role models and it helps if their teacher is someone who comes from a similar background.
“This is somebody who looks like me, this person might have come from my neighborhood specifically and you know they were able to dig in and get a great education, and now they’re giving back to the community as well,” says Tyler. “This is something I can see myself doing long-term, too.”
The Center for American Progress did a state by state analysis and came up with a diversity index that compares the percentage of non-white students to non-white teachers. The national average is a gap of 30 percentage points. Indiana’s score is better, at only 20.