Minority teachers underrepresented in New Mexico schools
Fifty-eight percent of New Mexico teachers are white, despite minorities constituting an overwhelming majority of the state’s student body.
The findings come out of a set of reports published by a Washington, D.C. think tank that examined the dearth of minority teachers in states having a student body less than 50 percent white.
New Mexico’s student-teacher race disparity ranked in the top 12 nationwide, according to the report. The state’s scored a “29,” meaning the percentage of minority students was 29 percentage points higher than the number of minority teachers.
California scored the highest: 72 percent of the state’s students are of color while only 29 percent of teachers identified as non-white. In Texas, Two-thirds of students are non-white yet only one-third of teachers have similar backgrounds.
Others studies also point to the educational benefits of having more teachers of color.
**A 2004 paper ** analyzing teacher racial composition and pupil test-results in Tennessee found a small boost in student performance on standardized tests when teachers of the same race taught the class. After four years of receiving instruction from a same-race teacher students improved test scores by a range of 8 to 12 percentage points. Those findings applied to white students as well.
More recently, a 2011 working study by economists focusing on a large community college in California pointed to strong gains by minority students taught by instructors from any minority background.
“Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans are 2.9 percentage points more likely to pass courses with instructors of similar background and 2.8 percentage points more likely to pass courses with underrepresented instructors,” it found.
The authors added: “These effects represent roughly half of the total gaps in classroom outcomes between white and underrepresented minority students at the college. The effects are particularly large for Blacks. The class dropout rate relative to Whites is 6 percentage points lower for Black students when taught by a Black instructor.”