Teachers of color: Student diversity is up but not educators
As an African-American teacher, David Joiner is a rarity in education. Growing up in Louisiana, Joiner said he didn’t see many teachers who looked like him. Instead, he saw what many students see: a teaching workforce that has not kept up with the ever-changing diversity of the classroom.
Despite studies that show students of color prefer teachers who share similar backgrounds, Joiner is part of just four percent of African-American teachers in both Sacramento and California, according to data compiled by ABC10 from the California Department of Education.
“I know it’s difficult for a lot of kids to connect with teachers when you don’t really have teachers that look like you in the classroom,” Joiner told ABC10. “So I thought that, you know, teaching could be something that I could really impact a lot of kids with.”
Joiner works at Sacramento City Unified School District’s Accelerated Academy, a credit recovery program for students who, for various reasons, have fallen behind their peers.
Last year, Joiner, a recent graduate of Grambling State University, was one of six African-American teachers recently recruited from Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) by SCUSD as part of the district’s efforts to fill teaching vacancies and increase diversity at the same time.
The district, like many others in the state, are hiring more teachers every year to adhere to policy that would make the student-teacher ratio in kindergarten to third grade classrooms 24 to one by the end of 2021.
According to Tiffany Smith-Simmons, a Human Resources Director with the SCUSD, the district wanted to reach that ratio sooner.
“About this time last year, I got curious,” Smith-Simmons explained. “I wanted to know howTeachers of color: Student diversity is up but not educators | ABC10.com: