The IRT seeks to address the lack of teacher diversity in American schools, colleges and universities.
- An evaluation of the 50 states and the District of Columbia found gaps between the percentage of students of color and the percentage of teachers of color in every state. In more than 20 states, these gaps were alarmingly wide totaling 25 percentage points or more. The gap between teachers and students of color continues to grow even as students of color make up almost half of the public school population.
- Similarly, a diversity gap persists on postsecondary faculty at 2- and 4-year colleges and universities. Among full-time professors, 84 percent were White, 4 percent were Black, 3 percent were Hispanic, 8 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander, and less than 1 percent were American Indian/Alaska Native.
Why teacher diversity matters
At the IRT, we believe that teacher diversity is intrinsic to educational excellence and we embody clear standards of excellence for teachers that emphasize mentorship, rigorous teacher preparation and teacher effectiveness.
- Teacher Diversity and Quality: In every heuristic — be it in biology, research and development and scientific innovation , problem solving , social networking, group dynamics, business , leadership and financial results , investment and finance, etc, — diversity brings creativity, rigor, strength, endurance, flexibility, and a propensity for evolution and innovation. Despite these widely accepted standards, a diverse teaching workforce still eludes our national esprit. Teachers suffer poor levels of autonomy, are generally undervalued (both in remuneration and social capital) and for many teachers there is a low barrier of entry with training often lacking rigor.
- Teacher Diversity and Educational Excellence: Teacher diversity contributes to an inclusive school environment, multicultural curriculum and a higher level of engagement of students of color. By each of these measures, all students in the United States are short-changed if the diversity of our society is not reflected in our educators.
- Teacher Diversity and Social Impact: Promoting teacher diversity can do much to counteract the racial and socioeconomic polarization in American schooling. By early identification and mentorship of students considering careers in education, IRT harnesses the potential of students committed to diversity and mitigates the racial disparities in teaching workforce.