Advocates say increasing Black teachers should be a national concern

By Char Adams, NBC News

“If you try to pursue and reform education without having a deep understanding of the racism that exists to create these disparities, you’re never going to achieve what you purport you want to achieve.” - Sharif El-Mekki

Before Covid changed the education landscape, Black students were already at a disadvantage due to the dismal number of Black teachers in the classroom and other effects of systemic racism. Black people represented just 7% of teachers in the 2017-18 school year, with white teachers making up 79% of the field, according to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

This is a dire situation as research shows that when Black students have teachers who look like them, they’re less likely to be over-disciplined and more likely to finish high school and consider college. Therefore, experts say, hiring Black teachers is necessary to address the racial disparities that lead to poor educational outcomes and criminalization for Black children.