February 9, 2013 (Washington D.C. -- Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA), joined by her colleagues Reps. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Kathy Castor (D-FL), has introduced legislation to increase diversity among America’s teaching ranks. The Diverse Teachers Recruitment Act would help establish programs to recruit new male teachers and teachers from minority groups into the profession.
“It is worthwhile to bring teachers from underrepresented groups into our classrooms,” said Davis, a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “The current lack of diversity leaves some students without an inspiring role model to whom they can relate. A more diverse teaching force could enhance the public school system and the experience of students.”
Across the country, students of color make up 40 percent of the public high school population, Davis noted. Yet, teachers of color make up just 17 percent of the teaching force. Over 75 percent of teachers were female and only about 24 percent were males. What's more – fewer than two percent of teachers are African American males. Addressing this issue, which exists in every state, is important in our ongoing efforts to closing the achievement gap.
Diverse teachers have been shown to produce more favorable academic results for students of color, particularly in raising standardized test scores, improving attendance, increasing enrollment in advanced level courses, and boosting college-going rates, according to a press release issued by Davis’ office.
Davis’s bill would provide competitive grants to school districts to design and implement recruiting programs to bring teachers from underrepresented groups into the classroom. The Department of Education would analyze the programs and disseminate which were effective in recruiting minority teachers. Successful results could be replicated in other school districts.