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Study Finds Lack of Teacher Diversity Throughout New York State

By Staff –


blac-tEighty-six percent of students in the Rochester City School District are black or Latino, compared to 18 percent of teachers in the RCSD, according to a new study that finds a lack of teacher diversity, in direct contrast to diverse student bodies, throughout New York state.

“Latino and Black students represent 43 percent of New York State’s K-12 enrollment, yet only 16 percent of the state’s teachers are Latino or Black – leaving significant numbers of students of all races/ethnicities, particularly outside of the Big Five school districts, without access to strong and diverse educators in the classroom,” The Education Trust- New York found in its “See Our Truth” report.

Thirteen percent of teachers in Buffalo Public Schools are diverse, the report said, compared to 67 percent of students in the district.  And, eight percent of teachers in the Syracuse City School District are diverse, compared to 62 percent of students in the district.

Similar disparities also exist in the New York City and Yonkers districts.

In addition, outside of the “Big Five” districts, state schools enroll 33 percent of the state’s Latino and Black students, however they employ just 17 percent of the Latino and Black teacher workforce.

Here are some additional findings from the report:

  • More than 115,000 Latino and Black students (10 percent) attend schools with no teachers of the same race/ethnicity, and an additional 80,000 Latino and Black students (7 percent) attend schools with just one teacher of the same race/ethnicity.
  • Latino and Black educators are somewhat better represented in school leadership at the principal and assistant principal levels than in the classroom — but major gaps in the pipeline exist for Latino principals in New York City, and for Latino and Black principals in the rest of the state.
  • Latino educators are especially under-represented in New York’s teacher workforce. While the share of the Black teacher workforce (8 percent) is half that of Black student population (17 percent), the Latino teacher workforce (7 percent) is approximately a fourth of the Latino student population (26 percent).

According to the report, the lack of teacher diversity can prevent students of color from achieving higher academic expectations and deeper student engagement, as well as limit existing diverse teachers to disciplinary roles or bridging cultural gaps for colleagues.

“New York’s educator workforce does not come close to representing the rich diversity of the state’s students, leaving many Latino and Black students without access to teachers or school leaders of the same race or ethnicity,” Ian Rosenblum, executive director of The Education Trust, stated. “The critical role that strong teachers and school leaders play in student success is central to closing achievement and opportunity gaps, and New York should improve the educator preparation pipeline, strengthen supports for educators of color, and make schools more inclusive environments in order to better serve our students and educators.”

In Rochester, local community groups have recently called for the RCSD to strengthen its commitment to hiring minority educators, and the district has said it plans to increase its recruitment efforts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as well as other diverse locations.

The trust has also offered the following additional recommendations, in an effort to increase the number of diverse teachers in the state:

  • Strengthen the educator preparation pipeline for future teachers and school leaders of color;
  • Improve recruitment and hiring at the school district level;
  • And, focus greater attention on retention, support, and career advancement for educators of color.

Visit for additional information regarding the report.

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