Teacher diversity is critical to the academic success of students and the learning opportunities available to them. A growing body of research demonstrates that teachers of color provide unique benefits to students through the lived experiences they bring to the classroom and the explicit, implicit, and null curricular strategies (see below for description) they employ in their teaching.
Teachers of color bring their lived experiences and cultural backgrounds into their teaching and approach to learning. As historically underrepresented and marginalized persons who are
more likely to have experienced null curricula, teachers of color are more prone to make those learning opportunities (i.e., critical thinking, life skills, academic readiness) more explicit.
Teachers of color are often more aware of the need to approach teaching through a culturally responsive lens, intentionally connecting students with the knowledge, intersections of identities, and experiences they value and bring into the classroom (Brown, Brown & Rothrock, 2015). As a consequence, students of color and white students benefit from exposure to a variety of scholars (gender, race, ethnicity, ability), frameworks and applications relevant to the curriculum. In addition, the ability and resiliency of students of color are better supported when there are teachers of color available for them to engage them (Andrews, Castro, Cho, Petchauer, Richmond, & Floden, 2019; Billingsley, Bettini & Williams, 2019; Carver-Thomas, 2017). The visibility and integration of teachers of color into the school setting has a positive influence on the collective academic success experienced by students of color.
The Kansas City metropolitan area is not unique in its struggle to recruit and retain teachers of color. Like many cities, our student population is becoming more racially/ethnically diverse but our teacher population is not. Findings from this report indicate: