Closing the Racial/Ethnic Gap Between Students of Color and Their Teachers: An Elusive Goal

Ana Maria Villegas, Kathryn Strom, Tamara Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


This article examines minority teacher recruitment policies and programs of the past two decades and explores their influence on the racial/ethnic makeup of the teaching force in elementary and secondary public schools. The results show that while important progress has been made toward increasing the overall number and proportion of minority teachers in the public schools, those gains have been eclipsed by the rapid growth of the minority student population. As a result, the racial/ethnic gap between students of color and their teachers has actually increased over the years. The authors provide an overview of current minority teacher recruitment state policies and introduce the Teacher-Student Parity Index, a new metric for comparing the proportions of teachers and students from different racial/ethnic groups to gain a more textured understanding of the demographic reality of today's schools than is presently found in the literature. The authors conclude with recommendations for policy and research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-301
Number of pages19
JournalEquity and Excellence in Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


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