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Report: Wisconsin’s teacher workforce lacks diversity

The report contains data compiled over the last decade
Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 4:42 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum says a gap between the percentage of teachers of color and the percentage of students of color in Wisconsin grew over the last 10 years as student diversity increased.

Anne Chapman, Senior Researcher of the study says the findings call for action. ‘Our teacher workforce for the past 10 years has been predominantly white. It’s in about 95 percent range in terms of white teachers,” she said.

The research is part of a project called “A Teacher Who Looks Like Me”. It dives into racial diversity Wisconsin’s teacher workforce and the student to teacher pipeline.

While the teaching workforce remains largely white, the number of students of color is growing. The number of students of color in public schools increased by 28% and the number of teachers of color increased by 22.5%.

Local school officials agree more work needs to be done to address this. “Hiring and retention of teachers of color is important for our full school community beyond the classroom,” said Dr. Tremayne Clardy, Chief of Middle Schools, Madison Metropolitan School District.

Dr. Clardy says teachers of color bring value to every aspect of the educational experience.

“Having a teacher from your same race or ethnic background is associated with gains in student achievement, aspirations to go to college,” said Chapman.

A diverse teacher workforce is also of value to students who are not of color.

“It’s important for white students to see a broad cross section of people that are in leadership roles and in positions of authority. It’s important for all students to see this and for white students because it is in contrast to many of the images they see in their community or the media,” Chapman said.

The goal of the research project is to help move the state’s education system forward. Chapman says future reports will dig deeper into the reasons for the growing racial gap which will help school districts work toward making changes.

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