A recent study conducted by researchers at NYU examined student perceptions of teachers, breaking the results down by the teachers' race. I'm fascinated by a review of the data published by WNYC.
It turns out all students, from every racial background, rated Latino and Black teachers more highly than white teachers. Of course, this does not diminish the contribution of white teachers, but it does offer a great deal to the conversations that many charter schools are having about how to diversify their classrooms.
This study offers us data to support our gut inclinations that teacher diversity is critical, and that it has perhaps been inadequately addressed. The data tell us it is important to all kids, of every background, to be able to learn from a diverse group. Whether it is more empathy or some other quality, teachers of color are bringing approaches that resonate strongly with their students – something we hope to see more of.
Brooklyn charter teacher Latarri Sample takes pride in being a role model for his students, knowing they see some of themselves in him
One of the benefits of chartering is the ability to quickly make changes that can have positive impacts on students. Many of our wonderful member schools have already begun to explore ways to diversify, from exploring ways to build relationships with historically black colleges and universities, to creating pipelines that bring former students back to the school as teachers-in-training. Read more about how Uncommon Schools has emphasized recruiting former grads to diversify their network.
I hope this data will help motivate you to think about your workforce and how you can take steps to create an even stronger learning environment for your students.