Nearly half of public school students are of color, but only 18 percent of teachers are.

Why is that?

The trouble is that answer isn’t clear. We know that greater diversity in the teaching workforce would provide students, who may be insulated from people of differing racial/ethnic backgrounds, the opportunity to learn from adults of various racial groups. And the increased presence of effective teachers of color could also dispel myths of racial inferiority that may be internalized by other groups of people, including professionals in the field of education.

But the scarcity of literature on teachers of color does not give us an adequate understanding of how to retain and support them, nor does it fully illuminate any differences in perspective on their practice or challenges specific to teachers of color.

The best way to answer these questions is to go to the source: teachers of color themselves. So that’s what we’re doing. This year we are convening focus groups with teachers of color in several states around the country in order to begin to better understand their professional experiences and thoughts regarding the state of education equity and school reform. We’ll use this information to help inform our work in educational research, policy, and practice.

If you are an African American/black or Hispanic/Latino teacher in ALABAMA, NORTH CAROLINA, TEXAS, TENNESSEE, or NEW JERSEY, we want to hear from you! Please fill out this form to register for a focus group in your school/district.