Studies have shown that a diverse teaching staff has a positive impact on student achievement, and helps to close the achievement gap. A diverse teaching staff creates both academic and psychological benefits including: providing role models, having higher expectations, encouraging academic performance, understanding cultural difference, and breaking down all students’ stereotypes.
In October 2004, the Collaborative on Diversity in the Teaching Force reported that a diverse staff would:
- increase the number of role models for students of color;
- provide opportunities for all students to learn about ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity;
- enrich diverse students’ learning because of shared racial, ethnic, and cultural identities; and
- serve as cultural brokers, able not only to help students navigate their school environment and culture, but also to increase the involvement of other teachers and their students’ parents.
Unfortunately, Ohio’s teaching force does not reflect its diversity. While 17% of students nationally are black, nearly 94% of Ohio teachers identify as white, 5% as black, 0.6% as Latino, and less than 1% fall into other racial categories. These figures have remained virtually constant over the past ten years.
Administrators and educators across the country recognize the value of diversity among staff, and also the challenge. They recognize the need for staff recruitment and hiring as a strategy to promote diversity. They also complain about the lack of available diverse staff. Despite these challenges, districts and states should adopt and implement strategies to recruit, hire, and retain staff as part of a comprehensive plan to promote diversity.