Saturday, May 25, 2024

Lack of Latino teachers is a growing issue in the U.S.

According to a recent study from the Center for American Progress, the percentage of Latino teachers nationwide lags far behind the fast-growing percentage of Latino students in the nation’s public school system.

Although Latino students make up almost a quarter of the student population nationwide, only about eight percent of teachers throughout the country identify as Latino. The study shows that California has the widest gap between the percentages of Latino students and teachers, at 36.4 percent while Pennsylvania is in the lower half of state rankings, with a gap of 7.9 percent.

The disproportionate lack of Latino teachers causes problems for both teachers and students. For students, the gap means that they are not often able to see themselves represented in teaching positions and positions of authority.

The gap could grow even more, according to reports an estimated 20,000 teachers are eligible for DACA or are current DACA recipients, and about 90 percent of them are Latino. If the Trump administration’s injunction to end the program is upheld or enacted, the loss of these certified and experienced Latino teachers would be a blow to creating a more diverse teacher population.

The CAP study concluded with recommendations for continuing to address the diversity gap for Latino teachers by recruiting more and maintaining those Latino teachers that are already working in the system. The recommendations include: passage of a clean Dream Act; increasing federal funding to attract more Latinos to teaching; and developing high-quality alternative teaching certification programs that would attract more Latinos.