Teaching-in-color: It is all about equity

Being a person of color in the teaching profession presents its own set of challenges, opportunities, and insights. This series, Teaching-in-Color, is about why we need more teachers of color; who they are; their experience, stories, and observations; and how to create conditions to develop a more diverse teaching work force.

The overwhelming majority of teachers are white and female. Racial and ethnic identity of a teacher has a bearing on the expectations for students, rate of discipline, referral to gifted education, academic performance, and even graduation. In the matching of teachers to students, something important is happening, even if we don’t fully understand it.

The diversity of our teaching corps is not a nice-to-have. It is not about peppering-in a few spots of black and brown to make a more colorful palette.

Teacher diversity is a necessary measure as part of broader strategy to provide equal educational opportunities for students of color. This student population now constitutes the majority, while simultaneously experiencing the worst academic outcomes.

In order for our education system to thrive, we have to carefully consider the needs of all students.

In other words, it is all about equity.

This series is designed to elevate the voices and perspectives of educators of color throughout the state. Themes run the gamut from relationship-building to leadership, equity, culturally responsive pedagogy, and expectations. Reach out to them. Follow them on social media. Share the articles. Enjoy!

About the author

James E. Ford is the principal consultant with Filling the Gap Educational Consultants, LLC. Ford taught World History and Sociology at Garinger High School in Charlotte beginning in 2010, and in 2014-15, he was the North Carolina Teacher of the Year.

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